Colorado Marijuana News

Snowmass entrepreneur’s Magic Buzz is his link to a greater crusade

December 21, 2014 — 

Scott Calliham doesn’t peddle marijuana from his 1971 Volkswagen van. But you couldn’t be blamed for wondering if he did.

The Magic Buzz monicker is emblazoned on his van, which doesn’t shy away from the stereotypes of a puff mobile: the trippy colors, the groovy font and The Who-inspired monicker.

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Basalt council OKs medical pot rules

December 12, 2013 — 

Basalt could have two medical marijuana dispensaries opening in the first quarter of 2014 after the Basalt Town Council took action Tuesday night to update rules and end a moratorium.

The council voted 6-0 in a first reading to approve new regulations for medical marijuana facilities drafted by the town staff. They also voted to establish where such facilities could operate in Basalt. A second reading of both ordinances will be held Jan. 14.

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Granby moves to block marijuana shop

December 5, 2014 — 

A last-ditch effort by the Granby Board of Trustees to stop a marijuana business from opening in an unincorporated enclave could lead to a legal showdown.

The board will consider an emergency ordinance to annex a property that lies within an enclave on U.S. Highway 40 near Middle Park Medical Center-Granby at its Dec. 9 meeting.

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Fraser green lights second retail marijuana store

December 4, 2014 — 

It looks like Fraser is going to get a little greener this winter.

The town’s board of trustees unanimously approved a license for a new retail marijuana store in Fraser at its Thursday, Dec. 4, meeting.

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Fraser green lights second retail marijuana store

December 4, 2014 — 

It looks like Fraser is going to get a little greener this winter.

The town’s board of trustees unanimously approved a license for a new retail marijuana store in Fraser at its Thursday, Dec. 4, meeting.

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Hot Sulphur voters support marijuana bans

November 6, 2014 — 

On Tuesday residents of Hot Sulphur Springs affirmed their support for the existing ban on marijuana-related facilities in the town.

Folks in Hot Sulphur Springs were presented with six ballot measures on the ballot exclusively in their community.

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Is marijuana revitalizing Eagle-Vail?

November 1, 2014 — 

EAGLE-VAIL — Can marijuana revitalize Eagle-Vail’s commercial district? Whatever the answer ultimately is, the marijuana business is growing — and bringing more people to — a stretch of U.S. Highway 6 some are already calling the “Green Mile.”

By Nov. 8, there will be three medical and three recreational marijuana businesses in the mile or so east of the stoplight at U.S. Highway 6 and Eagle Road. Two of the medical businesses have been in the valley since about 2009. The recreational businesses have all opened just this year.

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Growers abandon $8.3 million in illegal pot

October 8, 2014 — 

GYPSUM – Just because pot is legal in Colorado does not mean you can grow it on someone else’s land.

In the last week, illegal growers walked away from 3,630 marijuana plants worth as much as $8.3 million in marijuana, 1,000 in Eagle County near Cottonwood Pass south of Gypsum, and 2,630 plants near Ruedi Reservoir in Pitkin County.

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Basalt’s first retail pot store approved, aims for October opening

September 25, 2014 — 

The owners of Basalt’s first retail marijuana store aim to open their operation in the Southside neighborhood sometime in October after securing approval from the Town Council on Tuesday night.

The council voted 4-2 to approve a retail marijuana license for a store called Roots RX at 165 Southside Drive. The co-owners are Pete Tramm, of Basalt, and Robert Holmes, of Aspen, who have a company called RFSCB LLC.

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Basalt-area marijuana greenhouse gets green light

September 25, 2014 — 

It’s been almost 10 months since Silverpeak Apothecary first broke ground to build a series of greenhouses near Basalt. The project, which should be completed sometime this fall, was pushed forward by Silverpeak owner Jordan Lewis and his staff despite that they hadn’t garnered cultivation licenses from the state or county for the 20,000 square feet of grow space.

On Wednesday at a Pitkin County commissioners meeting, Lewis finally gained approval to receive county cultivation licenses from the commissioners to grow both medical and recreational pot at the facility.

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Aspen marijuana store Silverpeak to close for two weeks for remodel

September 4, 2014 — 

Customers who frequent Silverpeak Apothecary in Aspen won’t have access to its recreational and medical marijuana outlets for two weeks starting Monday as the shop begins a major remodel.

The remodel should be completed in two months, but the store plans to be closed for only two weeks while a temporary sales area is built in the main cannabis room.

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City approves two recreational marijuana licenses for Aspen

September 3, 2014 — 

Aspen will be home to four recreational marijuana shops after the Local Licensing Authority approved two more licenses Tuesday.

Alternative Medical Solutions, which plans to continue selling medical marijuana products on South Mill Street, was approved for a recreational marijuana license. Leaf Aspen also received approval for its new location in the North of Nell building off East Durant Avenue, which is yet to open. Leaf was also approved to sell recreational marijuana-infused products at its current location on East Cooper Avenue beneath Johnny McGuire’s.

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Aspen, Pitkin County officials highlight recreational marijuana concerns

August 27, 2014 — 

A Tuesday meeting between the Pitkin County Board of Health and county health officials highlighted the issues and concerns they have associated with the legalization of recreational marijuana.

It also highlighted how little some board members and health officials understand the amount of work and education already done at the Valley Marijuana Council meetings spearheaded by Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo.

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Aspen marijuana seller said to be considering Hyman mall

August 22, 2014 — 

A local marijuana seller is eyeing the Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall for recreational pot sales, according to the Aspen City Clerk’s Office.

Green Dragon, which sells medical and recreational marijuana products in a space at 400 E. Hyman Ave. that sits below street level, is planning to move its recreational operation into the first floor of 409 E. Hyman Ave., City Clerk Linda Manning said Thursday.

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Marijuana council, hospitality industry talk Aspen’s pot issues

August 13, 2014 — 

Even though recreational marijuana has been available in Aspen for more than five months, many hotel and condominium owners are still confused on where visitors can smoke pot.

That was one of several concerns brought up Tuesday at the Limelight Hotel as the Aspen Chamber Resort Association and the Valley Medical Council put on a panel discussion to examine issues and concerns members of the hospitality industry have involving the inception of recreational marijuana into the Aspen community.

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Retail pot shop opens in Eagle-Vail

August 4, 2014 — 

EAGLE COUNTY — The Vail Valley’s second retail marijuana shop opens Monday. There will be more in the coming months.

Eagle’s Sweet Leaf Pioneer has been open since spring, and another shop is planned. While every other town in the valley has either banned or delayed licensing for new retail shops, a number of shops are planned for Edwards and Eagle-Vail, both in unincorporated Eagle County.

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Driving high questioned on busy day in Congress

July 31, 2014 — 

BC-US--Legal Marijuana,124

Driving high questioned on busy day in Congress

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Aspen co-owner of Chronic Lodge hopes to match marijuana users with rentals

July 31, 2014 — 

After nearly one year in development, the Chronic Lodge website — which seeks to match marijuana users with pot-friendly vacation units in Colorado and other places where the drug is legal — is expected to launch soon.

Chronic Lodge is the brainchild of longtime Aspen resident Joe Hope and his partner in the project, Brenden Petersen, of Carbondale. Hope said work is underway to make the website, at www.chroniclodge.com, fully functional for property owners with listings and those who want to rent homes, condos and apartments where they won’t be bothered for using marijuana.

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Will Front Range marijuana purveyors eye Aspen?

July 30, 2014 — 

The city of Aspen is expecting two recreational marijuana license applications by September, and one shop owner believes additional interest from Front Range investors is imminent when the market opens to competition in October.

Aspen medical dispensaries Alternative Medical Solutions and Leaf Aspen are currently in the application process for converting to recreational, and a hearing is expected before the Local Licensing Authority on Sep. 2. Garrett Patrick, owner of Stash in the Aspen Business Center, also has said he has interest in opening a recreational shop in Aspen, but he would have to wait until October to apply. With approval, shop owners would have to wait a minimum of 45 days to convert.

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Carroll: Marijuana clubs in Aspen? Yes, we cannabis

July 29, 2014 — 

Reader LJ Erspamer, a longtime Aspen resident who’s sat on numerous boards, including Planning and Zoning, took quite the issue with last week’s editorial in support of marijuana clubs in Aspen.

Erspamer’s fiery letter to the editor, published in Monday’s Aspen Times, questioned the logic behind this paper’s rationale for advocating pot clubs.

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Aspen City Council will not extend protection to marijuana shops

July 29, 2014 — 

After rethinking prior direction that would have barred non-local recreational marijuana-shop owners from opening in Aspen until 2015, the Aspen City Council decided Monday that it wants to allow free-market competition.

However, during the meeting, Councilman Dwayne Romero said he would like the city to explore community need when considering recreational marijuana applications. This way Aspen won’t end up with an excessive number of pot shops. The Local License Authority, which reviews liquor and marijuana applications, should measure community need versus approval — or the idea should at least be considered, Romero argued.

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Pitkin County marijuana shops question sales restrictions

July 16, 2014 — 

On July 9, Pitkin County commissioners adopted new medical marijuana licensing regulations into the county code. Before the adoption, Kerry Weber, a certified yoga instructor and manager at Aspen Roaring Fork Wellness in Basalt, asked the board to reconsider a section addressing facilities requirements.

Weber said she’s concerned about the regulation restricting the sales of any products other than marijuana or marijuana-infused products at a medical pot dispensary. The same regulation applies toward recreational marijuana sales in the county. In other words, the county forbids the sale of paraphernalia, T-shirts and other retail items at medical and recreational marijuana stores.

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Marijuana industry mushrooming in Basalt, midvalley

July 18, 2014 — 

After a slow start, the marijuana industry appears to be budding in the midvalley.

A family in Missouri Heights has applied to build a marijuana cultivation facility on secluded property located off Upper Cattle Creek Drive. The Roaring Fork Regional Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously July 3 to recommend approval. The Eagle County commissioners will review the application Tuesday at a hearing in El Jebel.

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Grand County puts off Highland Lumber rezoning decision

July 15, 2014 — 

The Grand County commissioners decided to table a proposal to rezone the former Highland Lumber building on U.S. Highway 40 in Tabernash, which might become a medical-marijuana grow facility.

Wells Fargo Bank took ownership of the 11-acre parcel and building after foreclosing on the owner.

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Grand County planning board says no to proposed marijuana grow facility

July 15, 2014 — 

Grand County Planning Commission voted four to two against issuing a special use permit for a proposed marijuana grow facility near Granby.

The Department of Planning and Zoning recommended the commission approve the permit.

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Marijuana pricing wars heat up in Aspen

July 11, 2014 — 

The lines started forming during the week of the Food & Wine Classic and haven’t slowed down since then.

Aspen’s recreational marijuana shops have been booming since the tourist season kicked into high gear in June. According to Hunter Beaudreau, an employee at Green Dragon Aspen, recreational sales have at least doubled in the past month.

“We were slammed when we first opened here in March,” Beaudreau said. “Our recreational sales were good and have only gotten better with all the tourists in town. For the recreational customers, the experience of buying pot seems more important than the prices.”

There are three outlets selling recreational pot in or near Aspen right now: Green Dragon Aspen and Silverpeak Apothecary in town and Stash at the Aspen Business Center.

Two other outlets located in Aspen, Alternative Medical Solutions and Leaf Aspen, currently only sell medical marijuana.

Recreational prices fluctuate greatly, depending on where you buy. Keep in mind that every shop offers specials, so prices can change on a day-to-day basis. With prices that range from $52.50 to $122.50 for 3.5 grams, or an eighth of an ounce, of pot before taxes, customers can spend anywhere from $400 up to nearly $1,000 for an ounce of pot, depending on where they shop.

“Our recreational prices depend on the strain and on how much we have available,” said Stash owner Garrett Patrick. “We’re a rec shop only now, but if we recognize one of our former medical patients, we’ll give them a great deal at reduced prices.”

That makes sense because medical marijuana is much cheaper than recreational.

Why? There are several reasons. The first answer is taxing — recreational marijuana requires a 10 percent pot tax on top of the 9.3 percent in local sales taxes. There’s also the influence of supply and demand. Many recreational outlets are still ramping up their grow operations to match the demand for recreational pot. With lower supplies and higher demands, retail costs have gone up.

With more recreational sales taking place, the medical marijuana supplies have backed up and several shops now have surpluses of medical pot, allowing for lower pricing.

There also appears to be a pot price war brewing in Aspen on the medical side.

Silverpeak Apothecary started lowering prices when it announced in March that 7 grams of any of its medical marijuana strains would cost only $40 to members. Green Dragon Aspen answered in June by offering its medical members the same amount for $30.

John Rogan has been an employee at Leaf for three years and has seen the medical prices drop, especially in the past three months.

“The price wars between Silverpeak and Green Dragon have affected us, as well,” he said. “People come in now and expect to find 7 grams for $40. We now have ounces as low as $150, with our premium flower up to $275. The focus has gone from how good the bud is to how cheap it costs. I think our deals are great because our product is all pretty much top-shelf.”

Rogan saw several Leaf customers not renew their medical-card coverage to give recreational pot a chance, only to renew eventually.

“Medical pot is such a better deal,” Rogan said. “A lot of people still worry about having their names on a state registry as a medical-card holder, but the savings are incredible if you partake on a regular basis.”

Alternative Medical Solutions has been selling medical marijuana for almost five years in Aspen. The dispensary offers sales every day and currently sells an eighth of an ounce of top-shelf pot for $20 to members.

“We offer exclusive specials to our patients,” said Alternative Medical Solutions owner Ben Bayko. “We never charge more than $40 for an eighth. We see a lot of curious tourists that want to see our shop, but they aren’t customers. Our customer base is mostly locals, and we try our best to take care of them with quality product and competitive pricing.”

Silverpeak was the first outlet to sell recreational pot within the city limits of Aspen. Manager Michelle Salvati said when the shop began selling recreational in March, she noticed a drop in its medical sales, which spurred the $40 medical special.

Salvati said she thinks there are several reasons why Silverpeak has had such consistently good business, both medically and recreationally.

“We believe in the total experience at Silverpeak,” she said. “We educate. We offer advice and recommend products on an individual basis because we work hard to know our customers. We also have great prices and feel we have the best product, but I would expect all the shops to say the same thing.”

Beaudreau said Green Dragon’s $15-an-eighth pricing is a great way to establish the shop in Aspen.

“We want to be the best shop with the best deal,” he said. “We’re like the other shops in town in that we’re trying to provide this community with some great deals while we establish our customer base. We encourage our customers who qualify to look into getting a medical card and save money. Face it: Medical prices are way cheaper.”

Patrick said he expects the same thing to happen with recreational pot once the supplies match or exceed the demand.

“I’m not sure rec prices will get as low as medical is now, but they will eventually drop” he said. “Give it time, and the market will dictate prices as it always does, even in Aspen.”

mmclaughlin@aspentimes.com

Grand County commissioners to hear marijuana permit request

July 14, 2014 — 

The Grand County commissioners will conduct a public hearing regarding a special use permit for a marijuana cultivation facility near Granby.

The board will consider the application on Tuesday, July 22, in the Grand County Administration Building in Hot Sulphur Springs.

The Grand County Planning Commission denied a special use permit for the same applicant, Kevin Speier, during its July 9 meeting.

Speier had applied for a special use permit to grow recreational marijuana in the former Mountain Parks Electric warehouse building north of the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and U.S. Highway 34.

Vail pot moratorium moves forward

July 5, 2014 — 

VAIL — While resort towns elsewhere were quick to jump into retail marijuana sales, Vail continues its wait-and-see approach.

The Vail Town Council Tuesday unanimously passed on first reading an ordinance that will extend the town’s current moratorium on retail marijuana sales in town. The town had been working through the spring on perhaps making a final decision on whether or not to ban retail sales in town, facing a self-imposed July 31 deadline.

The town formed a “working group” to evaluate the issue, but it became clear to council members that more time would be needed, which led to the new ordinance.

While council members all voted for the ordinance — which requires one more vote before final passage — they did raise questions.

Council member Greg Moffet asked whether Vail might be depriving itself of revenue to handle “potential problems” related to retail sales, since those sales are currently allowed in nearby Eagle-Vail. Moffet noted that there are Craigslist ads offering delivery services into Vail.

On the other hand, Moffet said, initial reports from other resort towns indicate there have been few, if any, law enforcement problems.

Council member Jenn Bruno suggested that town officials have some in-depth conversations with their counterparts in Aspen during a get-together later this month.

Vail voters in 2012 overwhelmingly approved Amendment 64, the state constitutional amendment that legalized possession and use of small amounts of marijuana and laid the foundation for retail sales. But a more recent survey showed a majority of town residents oppose allowing retail sales in town.

Silverthorne Town Council votes to extend hours for retail marijuana shops

June 26, 2014 — 

People looking to purchase marijuana in Silverthorne after sundown are now in luck.

On Wednesday night, the Silverthorne Town Council unanimously approved an ordinance extending the hours of operation at retail marijuana shops. Shops can now operate from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Prior town code required them to lock up by 7 p.m.

“I’d like to put our marijuana shop on equal footing with everyone else,” said Mayor Pro Tem Ann-Marie Sandquist. “And (the shop) has been very good working with the town council and with the police department.”

Mayor Bruce Butler agreed.

“The fact they’ve been such a good actor makes it easier to do this,” he said.

State law allows retail marijuana shops to be open as late as midnight. But local governments can establish their own regulations, such as hours of operation, as long as they fall within the state law.

Town officials said the chief motivation behind the time change was to give the town’s only marijuana shop, High Country Healing, a chance to remain open as late as surrounding businesses.

“There is a liquor store right next to us that can be open until at least 10 p.m.,” said Colby Hockersmith, general manager at High Country Healing. “It didn’t make sense for us to have to close so early while several other businesses in the same center can remain open for hours longer. This gives us an opportunity to serve more customers.”

When the council originally approved the sale of retail marijuana it adopted the same hours that had applied to medical dispensaries, which accounted for the 7 p.m. closing time.

The change also puts Silverthorne’s retail marijuana regulations more in line with other towns in the county. Breckenridge, for example, allows retail marijuana stores to operate from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

“We’ve had the same hours in place since Jan. 1,” said Kim Dykstra-DiLallo, Breckenridge’s communication director. “They can be open at any time in that window. It’s up to each business to decide.”

Now Silverthorne residents and visitors will have a chance to frequent their local marijuana shop under the stars as High Country Healing has changed its hours from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Vail bans retail pot another year

June 17, 2014 — 

VAIL — The Vail town council voted unanimously to extend its temporary ban on retail marijuana for another year in order to gather more information and observe other towns such as Aspen, who have legalized retail sales.

The town had set a self-imposed July 31 deadline to make a decision on retail sales, but council members said the past year has raised too many questions, with not enough time to answer all of them.

“I hate putting off decisions, but this is a new thing for our state,” said council member Dave Chapin. “However, we do need to make a decision within a year. Maybe we should also throw the question out there to people who come here to visit and see what they think.”

More time needed

Colorado Constitutional Amendment 64 legalized the sale and consumption of recreational marijuana in Colorado. The legislation grants local governments the authority to regulate the operations of recreational marijuana establishments, including prohibition, if desired. It passed in Vail with 75 percent in favor.

Confusingly enough, a recent community survey showed that while the majority of residents may have voted for Amendment 64, much fewer residents are in favor of allowing retail pot shops in Vail.

The survey by RRC Associates showed that when asked if they would be in favor of a retail marijuana store in Vail, 31 percent said “yes,” 57 percent said “no” and 13 percent were “unsure.”

Earlier this year, the town of Vail formed a Recreational Marijuana Working Group to identify a list of questions and issues that the town council should consider prior to adopting a marijuana policy. The group, after two meetings that also drew the attention and attendance of many local residents, prepared a list of nearly 60 questions surrounding the topic.

“We want to answer these questions, but I don’t think we can possibly do justice to either side of the debate with the time we have before the ban expires,” said council member Margaret Rogers. “We don’t have to rush into this by any means.”

Council members particularly liked the idea of observing other areas that have allowed retail sales over the next year. Aspen, Summit County and Eagle County all either currently have or soon will have retail marijuana shops.

“It doesn’t look like there are any problems so far, but it’s so new, and we just don’t know yet,” said Rogers.

Resident weigh in

The community survey, while it presented confusing numbers for officials, did show a strong divide in opinion between age groups, and second homeowners and full-time residents.

For the question of allowing a retail pot shop in Vail, if the answers were divided between age groups, those who were in their 30s or younger were overwhelmingly in favor, while those 65 and older were staunchly against.

One Eagle County resident, Barbara Allen, said that the town would not be in line with its support of health and wellness if it allowed retail marijuana.

“You either support wellness or don’t. And supporting marijuana is not,” she said. “My other issue is safety and being family friendly. If other ski areas adopt this but Vail doesn’t, those people will come here and Vail can bill itself as family friendly.”

Retail marijuana in Eagle County

Outside of Vail, eight retail licenses are currently being considered in Eagle County. Of those, five are in Eagle-Vail’s commercial area, one of the few areas with the proper zoning and setbacks in the county.

County Manager Keith Montag said that some anecdotal evidence and research is showing that counties that have allowed retail marijuana aren’t necessarily seeing the problems they expected.

“We were at a counties conference, and it seems like from people we’ve talked to, especially over at Summit County, they’re not seeing the problems we’ve debated about,” said Montag.

County officials said that they’ve even seen some studies that indicate legalizing marijuana might actually have positive effects.

One study showed that the number of vehicle fatalities and underage use had actually gone down in areas that legalized marijuana, suggesting that people might be substituting marijuana for alcohol, or that people were choosing to stay at home and use marijuana instead of going out.

Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 or at mwong@vaildaily.com.

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