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Legal pot business hearings begin in Colo.

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DENVER (AP) — If you want to be in the legal pot industry in Colorado, open your checkbook.

Colorado’s pot regulators are launching three days of hearings today to lay out licensing specifics before retail sales begin in January.

Would-be entrepreneurs will be charged up to $5,000 just to apply to be in the recreational pot business, and operational licenses run $3,750 to $14,000 under the proposed rules. Successful applicants must also pass gauntlet of criminal background checks and residency requirements.

The result is expected to be an industry that will have as much red tape as green leaves. Colorado is trying to show it can strictly regulate and control a drug that has been operating in the shadows for decades, despite the advent of medical marijuana licensing.

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