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Engaging Ideas

The Business of Marijuana

Medical, to recreational, to big business

Part I of this Engaging Idea explores the history of legalization of marijuana in Colorado, the U.S. and other countries.  Part II takes a deeper dive into the business aspects of the marijuana industry, the regulatory environment, the tax revenues generated and the unique challenges faced by marijuana business owners.


Photo of Paul Seaborn


Paul Seaborn joined the management faculty at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver in 2011. Holding a PhD in Strategic Management from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, Professor Seaborn's research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of business strategy and government policy with a particular focus on regulated industries including the marijuana/cannabis industry.

In 2014, he published one of the first-ever teaching cases on the marijuana industry and in 2017 taught the first-ever Business of Marijuana course at any AACSB-accredited business school. Since 2015, he has organized or participated in over 10 conference presentations and symposia related to the marijuana industry and his analysis of the industry, including his Colorado Marijuana Market Report, has been featured in over 20 different media outlets. Prof. Seaborn has published scholarly articles in the journal Business & Society and Case Research Journal and has been the recipient of multiple teaching awards, including recognition as one of Poets & Quants Top 40 Undergraduate Business Professors in 2017.

 More on the Subject

  1. 2018 Colorado Marijuana Market Report by Paul Seaborn.
  2. Sessions' war on pot could speed up marijuana legalization nationwide, by Paul Seaborn, The Conversation, February 6, 2018.
  3. Business of Marijuana, An academic perspective on the emerging industry in Colorado and beyond by Paul Seaborn.

Questions for personal reflection or group discussion

  1. How has cannabis legalization in Colorado and other states affected you and your family personally or professionally, if at all?
  2. Should the federal government legalize cannabis nationally in some form or continue to treat cannabis as a prohibited Schedule 1 drug?
  3. What are the potential pros and cons if Colorado remains a key center of the legal cannabis industry?
  4. What role should universities such as the University of Denver play in the study of cannabis legalization and the emerging legal industry?

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