Council gives final OK to new pot business rules

August 22, 2015 — 

The city of Glenwood Springs has completed new rules for marijuana businesses, including the addition of a special-use review and hearing process, and an expanded 900-foot setback between retail pot shops and related businesses.

City Council on Thursday approved the amended ordinance without any further discussion or public comment. The issue was aired during an Aug. 6 public hearing when council agreed to the new rules on first reading.

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Approval granted for Green Dragon to change hands

August 12, 2015 — 

A Denver-based cannabis company that already owns a retail and medical marijuana operation in Glenwood Springs won local approval Wednesday to acquire the Green Dragon’s local holdings.

Greenwerkz already received approval in May from Aspen’s licensing authority for a transfer of ownership involving the Green Dragon retail store and medical dispensary in Aspen.

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Basalt-area marijuana farm's license in peril

August 11, 2015 — 

In a highly charged meeting Tuesday, Pitkin County commissioners told the owners of High Valley Farms, a marijuana grow facility that debuted last year, that its license is in serious peril because of its chronic stench.

The meeting was the latest in a series of county commissioner work sessions over the smell wafting from High Valley Farms, located in the Basalt area. And each time, Jordan Lewis, co-owner of the greenhouses, has assured commissioners and neighbors the stench will be eradicated. The neighbors also have been making repeated claims that the odor hasn’t gone away, continually and negatively impacting their lifestyle.

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Aspen Pot shop robber faces decades in prison, held on $100,000 cash bond

August 11, 2015 — 

The 21-year-old Aspen man charged with robbing a local marijuana dispensary last month is back in town and facing decades in prison for his crime spree.

Hayden May appeared in District Court in Aspen on Tuesday, where District Judge Gail Nichols ordered him held on a $100,000 cash or surety bond.

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Glenwood moves to toughen pot shop rules

August 9, 2015 — 

New marijuana businesses in Glenwood Springs will face a special planning review to make sure the proposed location is suitable, and will have to be separated by at least 900 feet.

Those are the new rules that won initial approval Thursday night on a 6-1 vote by Glenwood Springs City Council.

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Glenwood moves to toughen pot shop rules

August 7, 2015 — 

New marijuana businesses in Glenwood Springs will face a special planning review to make sure the proposed location is suitable, and will have to be separated by at least 900 feet.

Those are the new rules that won initial approval Thursday night on a 6-1 vote by Glenwood Springs City Council.

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Council set to weigh pot rule revisions

August 6, 2015 — 

A ban on new marijuana businesses in the downtown core, a special permit review that would involve the city’s planning commission and a greatly increased 900-foot setback between shops are among options before Glenwood Springs City Council this Thursday.

The options were among the ideas discussed at a council work session in early July regarding possible revisions to the city’s existing licensing and land-use regulations for retail and medical marijuana businesses.

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Charges piling up on alleged robber of Aspen marijuana shop

July 31, 2015 — 

The man suspected of robbing a Aspen marijuana dispensary with a hammer Tuesday led officers on a high-speed chase when they tried to pull him over west of St. Louis on Wednesday night, then crashed head-on into a police car, according to a statement.

Hayden May, 21, then refused to get out of the black 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe he stole from his former employer in Aspen, prompting a St. Louis police officer to use his baton to break the window before arresting him, the statement from the St. Louis County Police Department says.

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Marijuana shop(s) cited for selling to minors

July 31, 2015 — 

State authorities cited two Aspen marijuana dispensaries earlier this week for selling pot to a minor, sources said Thursday.

None of those sources, however, was the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division, which said only that it had conducted compliance checks Monday in Aspen.

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Vail poised to ban pot

July 20, 2015 — 

VAIL — The temporary ban on retail marijuana in Vail could be permanent in a matter of weeks.

Just two weeks after the Vail Town Council passed yet another extension of a 2014 moratorium banning marijuana businesses, the council Tuesday night will consider the first reading of a permanent ban. That ban could be overturned by a future town council.

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Government Tracker: Vail extends pot ban

July 9, 2015 — 

Board: Vail Town Council, July 7 evening meeting.

Present: Jenn Bruno, Greg Moffet, Ludwig Kurz, Mayor Andy Daly, Margaret Rogers, Dave Chapin, Dale Bugby.

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Vail extends pot moratorium

June 17, 2015 — 

VAIL — The Vail Town Council Tuesday again extended a temporary ban on retail marijuana sales in town. But the days may be numbered for the temporary ban.

Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to approve on first reading an ordinance extending the ban for another 60 days. The council will probably give final approval to the ordinance at its July 7 meeting.

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Aspen marijuana company Silverpeak expands, to address Basalt smells today (June 9)

June 9, 2015 — 

These are interesting and challenging times for Jordan Lewis, CEO of Silverpeak Apothecary, which sells both recreational and medical marijuana in Aspen.

Lewis will appear before Pitkin County commissioners today (June 9) in a work session focused on the marijuana smells that some neighbors say are wafting from High Valley Farms, the midvalley pot farm that Lewis owns and operates. The facility, which supplies the Silverpeak stores in Aspen, is located at 24359 Highway 82 in Basalt.

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Senior citizen ticked by marijuana brownie probe in Aspen

June 7, 2015 — 

Antoinette Jaworski says she enjoys baking treats for children and adults. Now getting them baked? That’s another matter, but the 84-year-old widow soon found herself caught in the hairs of a pot probe by the Aspen Police Department.

It was May 25, and Jaworksi was at a Memorial Day barbecue at the Elks Club in Aspen passing out her individually wrapped homemade goods. She soon found herself questioned by police.

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Beefer madness: pot jerky maker eyes Aspen Business Center

May 14, 2015 — 

Here’s some marijuana news to chew on: A Front Range meat-production plant has designs to ship some of its products to a location at the Aspen Business Center, where the meat will be infused with cannabis for distribution to recreational and medical marijuana dispensaries. Among its cannabis-inspired offerings: jerky, dried sausage, beef sticks, smoked salmon and chocolate-covered bacon.

One of the business’ principals, John Conlin, said Thursday that this latest marijuana incarnation is the first of its kind.

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Commissioners, attorney talk Basalt-area pot odors in private

May 14, 2015 — 

Pitkin County commissioners met privately with their attorney Wednesday to discuss their potential legal standing in the neighborhood flap over cannabis smells emitting from a Basalt-area grow facility.

Attorney John Ely could not comment about the half-hour talk but said a work session will be held for the public to chime in on the odors that originate from the High Valley Farms indoor grow center, which supplies Silverpeak Apothecary’s medical and recreational dispensaries in Aspen. The farm and the dispensaries share common ownership.

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Pitkin County commissioners aim to snuff out marijuana smell issue

May 13, 2015 — 

The apparent smell of marijuana wafting from a Basalt-area grow operation continues to linger, which has prompted Pitkin County elected officials to consider discussing the matter in executive session today.

County Commissioner George Newman brought up the stench at Tuesday’s work session. At a March meeting, neighbors of the High Valley Farms’ indoor cultivation facility said the smell has eroded their quality of life. They said the owners of the grow center, which supplies products to Silverpeak Apothecary’s medical and recreational dispensaries in Aspen, promised there wouldn’t be a smell issue when they applied for the cultivation license.

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Aspen board gives initial OK to $8 million Green Dragon sale

May 12, 2015 — 

A Denver-based cannabis company looking to purchase Aspen Green Dragon for $8 million cleared its first local hurdle Tuesday as the Local License Authority approved its change-of-ownership application.

Buyer Ryan Milligan, co-owner of Greenwerkz, said Tuesday that his company plans to purchase the entire Green Dragon operation, which includes medical and recreational licenses in Aspen and Glenwood Springs. The Aspen shop, located at 409 E. Hyman Ave., would operate as a dual medical-recreational retailer serving customers 21 and older. This would mean expansion for a company that already operates seven recreational shops and nine medical shops throughout Colorado, including a Glenwood Springs location.

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Aspen licensing authority weighs $8 million Green Dragon sale

May 11, 2015 — 

The Local Licensing Authority will weigh a change of ownership application associated with a potential $8 million sale of Aspen Green Dragon, one of six cannabis dispensers in town, at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Ryan Milligan, co-owner of Denver-based cannabis company Greenwerkz, filed the application recently with City Clerk Linda Manning. Today’s hearing, which begins at 9 a.m., represents the first set of hurdles in the potential deal with Green Dragon.

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Marijuana by the Numbers: 10 numbers about pot in Colorado that don't include 4-20

April 20, 2015 — 

Most Coloradans probably know that 4-20 — April 20 — has become the day for celebrating marijuana. Although the origin is still debated, four-twenty is probably the most popular numeric reference to pot. Rocky Mountain PBS I-News has compiled a list of less well-known figures, a paint by the numbers picture of cannabis in Colorado.

1. 71 percent

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Six in the City: Who's who in Aspen's booming recreational marijuana business

February 17, 2015 — 

Working class-Aspen residents often lament they must go downvalley or online to buy underwear and socks. Most restaurants don’t stay open past 11. The town doesn’t have a detox facility. And flying in and out of town is hardly hassle-free.

But when it comes to cannabis, Aspen has got you covered. There are more pot shops than there are liquor stores, pharmacies, supermarkets and gas stations, not to mention churches, ski mountains, hardware stores and dry cleaners.

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City audits Aspen's cannabis dispensers

February 17, 2015 — 

Aspen’s six recreational marijuana shops can each expect a visit from city officials today.

Starting at 10 a.m., Aspen’s city clerk, assistant city attorney and Police Department will conduct a compliance check to ensure dispensers are following new state regulations for edible products.

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Aspen marijuana shops gear up for X Games crowd

January 21, 2015 — 

With the Winter X Games expected to lure thousands of young adults to the Aspen area today through Sunday, most local marijuana shops are making plans for a potential retail bonanza.

On Wednesday, many dispensaries were busy stocking up on products and planning special promotions designed to lure customers. Five recreational pot stores are located in Aspen’s commercial core — Alternative Medical Solutions (or AMS), Green Dragon, Leaf, Native Roots and Silverpeak Apothecary. A sixth store, Stash, which formerly was located outside the city limits in the Aspen Business Center, opens Friday in the Durant Avenue Mall near City Market.

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Made for a woman: New cannabis spray debuts in Aspen this week

January 19, 2015 — 

When Native Roots opens its sixth Colorado recreational cannabis dispensary in Aspen this week, psychoactive products won’t be the only items on its menu. On Friday, the chain will debut its Foria product geared exclusively toward women.

Foria is a THC-infused lube that doesn’t get its users high; rather, women who apply it are purported to have a much more fulfilling and enjoyable sex experience.

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Forest Service still investigating illegal pot operations near Redstone, Ruedi

January 19, 2015 — 

Several months after the eradication of two separate illegal marijuana-growing operations on national forest in the Aspen area, the U.S. Forest Service is still trying to find the responsible parties.

No arrests have been made, but the agency said its law enforcement branch continues to investigate a case from September 2014, when a grow operation was discovered in the Fryingpan Valley, and a September 2013 case in the Crystal Valley. The agency cannot comment during active investigations on whether it suspects drug-trafficking organizations to be involved in the pot gardens, said Chris Strebig, a spokesman for the agency’s regional office in Lakewood. A source familiar with the investigations said the Fryingpan Valley grow operation in particular appeared to have ties to drug traffickers. The source wasn’t authorized to speak for the agency.

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December break-in at Aspen cannabis shop under investigation

January 13, 2015 — 

The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a burglary at the Stash recreational cannabis store, where a man apparently climbed up a construction ladder to break into the dispensary through its second-floor window.

The incident happened Dec. 17 and came up at last week’s meeting of the Local Licensing Authority, which approved the dispensary’s application to relocate from the Aspen Business Center to Durant Avenue in a commercial center next to City Market.

Stash co-owner Garrett Patrick said that the number of edible marijuana products swiped added up to about $1,200 in retail value. No cash or other products were taken, he said.

“I don’t want this to happen again,” Patrick said Tuesday, the last day Stash will operate out of the business center. It is slated to reopen Saturday at its new location. “I want to be crystal clear that I want to catch this guy.”

The state requires that cannabis shops have security systems, which Stash does. But after the break-in, Patrick said he made a significant investment into an upgraded system.

The incident happened at approximately midnight, Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said. DiSalvo said deputies responded to the scene after the store’s alarm system activated.

“There is a video of the person in and out looking around,” said DiSalvo, adding the crime is considered felony burglary. “And the alarms were activated.”

Patrick said a construction ladder was left at the scene. He said he believed that one person acted alone.

“He was just desperate, and you could see him looking around and grabbing whatever he could and he threw it into a bag,” Patrick said of the video’s content. “He didn’t know what he was doing, and he couldn’t get in our registers.”

Much of the store’s inventory is secured in safes, but the edible marijuana products taken were not, Patrick said.

DiSalvo said break-ins at cannabis dispensaries are rare in Pitkin County. The last time one happened was in 2014 at a medical dispensary in Holland Hills, but nothing was taken, the sheriff said.

City of Aspen: No current plants to revisit private marijuana club idea

January 10, 2015 — 

Despite a perceived need for social spaces dedicated to marijuana consumption, Aspen officials currently have no plans of revisiting the idea of allowing private smoke clubs in town, an official said this week.

When the idea was floated to the Aspen City Council in July, Aspen’s Community Development Department raised concerns about the exposure such clubs could bring to the town’s international profile. Officials also argued that Aspen should refrain from serving as a guinea pig, especially given the state law’s ambiguity when it comes to private smoking venues.

“We’re waiting and seeing what develops in other areas of the state before we embark on anything,” Assistant City Attorney Debbie Quinn said Tuesday, adding that there have been no recent inquiries about the concept.

Ron Radtke, owner of Aspen Green Dragon, one of six recreational pot shops in town, said the city has handled the issue correctly, though he would be interested if the city changed its stance.

“If you try to hurry the damn thing, then you get nothing but problems and issues,” Radtke said Tuesday. “You need to wait the entire season. After April have a little work (session) and see how it would work, where it would work.”

Leaf Aspen dispensary co-owner Jesse Miller said he sat down with Quinn and City Clerk Linda Manning in the fall of 2013, when the city’s opinion on private venues was explained. He said he was told that these venues present a smoking issue, among other problems.

Legal hurdles for such clubs include the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, which prohibits indoor consumption. However, venues like Nederland’s Club Ned and Denver’s iBake have skirted around the law. Club Ned is exempt because it employs three or fewer workers and is off-limits to the public. To maintain its private status, a significant amount of the club’s revenue must come from membership dues, and it must be selective when admitting members. iBake operates as a dual cannabis-tobacco smoking club, and tobacco rooms are exempt from the act.

Miller said Tuesday that if the Cigar Bar, a tobacco-smoking venue that also serves alcohol, can operate, surely a private pot club is feasible. However, it would be Miller’s preference that cannabis offerings remain separate from alcohol. He said liquor involves heightened risks that cannabis does not, adding that any potential venue also should remain separate from cannabis sales.

Councilman Adam Frisch, who has stated in the past that he is open to private smoking venues, agreed that such clubs should remain separate from alcohol. Whether it’s turning a coffee shop, bakery or eatery into a cannabis venue, he said he remains receptive.

“I still feel that it would be nice if there was some type of social venue in town for people to go and hang out and use cannabis if they want,” Frisch said Friday.

Echoing a previous argument on the issue, Miller said if Aspen’s hotels continue to maintain no-smoking policies, the town needs to provide a social atmosphere where tourists can smoke.

“I don’t expect to see a lot of locals going into a location like that,” Miller said. “It’s about the tourists. Every day that I’m bud-tending I get asked four or five times, ‘Where is it okay for us to smoke this?’ ... They need a place to go. Let’s face it: Cannabis, for a lot of people, is a very social thing.”

Most Aspen hotels do not tolerate smoking, either with tobacco or marijuana products. Aspen Square Hotel General Manager Warren Klug said his lodge maintains a strict stance on the issue.

“It’s already illegal to smoke in public areas, like a restaurant or bar,” Klug said Tuesday. “We don’t allow smoking at all, so it’s really limited in terms of where they can legally smoke. We do have a strict no-smoking policy, and we try very hard to enforce it.”

Reflecting on a year since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana sales, Community Development Director Chris Bendon described the city’s interaction with its marijuana dispensers as “mellow.” There have been no complaints about business operations or the amount of shops in town, he said, describing applicants as professional, respectful and well-versed with the law.

“It went about as smoothly as we could have hoped for,” he said regarding the first 10 months since Aspen’s first recreational shop, Silverpeak Apothecary, opened. “No surprises. No weird wrinkles. Folks have been applying and having their request reviewed and obtaining their licenses as expected.”

Man cleared to make marijuana patches in Aspen

January 9, 2015 — 

A cannabis entrepreneur patched things up with the Local Licensing Authority at a specially called meeting Thursday, two days after the board called his character into question.

The authority voted 5-0 in approval of Joshua Meacham’s two applications for his Aspen operation: One permits the Snowmass Village man to manufacture marijuana-infused patches for recreational purposes, the other allows him to change his business address to 730 E. Cooper Ave. Meacham hasn’t started producing the patches and told the board that he’s investing $100,000 into the enterprise.

He wouldn’t sell the patches — they will be made for both recreational and medicinal purposes (a license for which he was previously approved) — to the public. Instead, he would manufacture and distribute them to retailers. On Wednesday, The Aspen Times reported that the patches’ buzz-like effects last three to four hours. Meacham said they actually can last for as much as 10 to 12 hours.

But getting his business afloat ran into problems Tuesday at the authority’s monthly meeting after Aspen Police Department detective Jeff Fain told the board that Meacham failed to note on his application with the city that he had been cited by Arizona authorities for driving with a suspended license and failing to appear in court.

The city’s paperwork for applicants in the cannabis trade asks them if they’ve ever been arrested. Another question asks applicants if their driver’s license has ever been suspended. Meacham didn’t attend the Tuesday meeting; his business manager Steve Garcia was there, though.

Meacham had asked the board to convene Thursday after he learned his hearing had been delayed until its next regularly scheduled meeting in February.

“I’m not trying to hide anything,” Meacham told the authority. “I don’t have anything to hide. ... I was not trying to deceive the city or any of you guys in any shape or form. As I told Detective Fain, it was an honest mistake on my part.”

Fain said he didn’t believe that Meacham tried to mislead the city or the authority, saying his failure to answer the questions was likely a case of semantics.

Debbie Quinn, the city’s assistant attorney, told the authority that it could reject Meacham’s application if he lacked the moral character to run a “canna-business.” Qualifying characteristics would be “an individual with a history of demonstrating honest, fairness and respect for the rights of other and the law,” she said.

“The authority has denied applications in the past for moral character,” Quinn said, noting that a person doesn’t necessarily need a criminal background to be denied.

Quinn said that along with Meacham’s traffic transgressions in Arizona, which he resolved in 2010, Meacham also was indicted by a Navajo County grand jury for fraud in 2013. The charge was later dropped, and Meacham explained that the case was brought on by a former client of his when he ran a big-game hunting business. The client had paid for a hunting trip that he never took and wanted his money returned a year-and-a-half later, Meacham said. Meacham didn’t give a refund and the client pursued charges, he said.

He also said he notified the state of Colorado of his traffic transgressions in Arizona, and he was given a state license to manufacture the patches.

“Moral character is something I hold very, very high,” he said. “I’ve always been very committed to our community. I’ve done a lot of community work and nonprofit work. I was distraught that Mr. Fain and the city attorney would question my moral character in any shape or form.

“I can’t help to take offense to it, that my moral character would even be questioned.”

The board expressed confidence that Meacham’s character passed the muster to make the patches.

“You’re a man of good moral character, whether you are or not,” board member Bill Murphy chuckled at the hearing’s end.

Background issues put Aspen marijuana patches on hold

January 7, 2015 — 

The background of a Snowmass Village man aiming to manufacture cannabis-infused patches came into question Tuesday at a hearing with the Local Licensing Authority, whose members delayed reviewing his applications for an address change and for selling the products to recreational dispensaries.

Applicant Josh Meacham wasn’t at the hearing, where members of the board, which is Aspen’s governing body for establishments that sell liquor and marijuana, postponed the decision until its next monthly meeting in February. Meacham was represented by his business manager, Steve Garcia.

The delay came after Detective Jeff Fain, of the Aspen Police Department, said Meacham’s criminal background wasn’t revealed on his city application to manufacture the patches for distribution to retail dispensaries. The paperwork asks if the applicants have ever been arrested.

“I ran a history this morning, and I had 30 seconds to look at it and I saw four or five criminal items,” said Fain, who recently became a detective. Fain noted Meacham’s background included transgressions that occurred in Arizona relating to driving with a revoked license and failure to appear in court.

“So he lied on his application, is that what you’re saying?” board member Bill Murphy asked.

“Well, that’s what it looks like,” said Walter Chi, also of the Aspen Police Department.

Meacham, reached by phone, said the Aspen Police Department erred in its findings.

“I’m dealing with it and it’s a mistake by the Aspen Police Department,” he said.

Meacham said the incidents were traffic related and not criminal, and Fain, whom he called a “rookie detective,” made a snap judgment about his background. Meacham said he also has received state approval and questioned the reason his traffic incidents surfaced so late with the city.

Regardless, Meacham will have to wait at least another month. He’s seeking a license to relocate his business, which the Local Licensing Authority had approved to set up shop at the old Poppie’s Bistro site at 835 W. Hallam St., to 730 E. Cooper Ave., which used to house Leaf Aspen. Garcia said the landlord couldn’t get the West Hallam Street location ready for Meacham, which is why they sought another spot.

Meacham also has applied to manufacture the patches for distribution to recreational dispensaries. He won approval last year to make the patches for medical dispensaries. Meacham would not sell the products on site.

The patches, according to Meacham, would take effect within 20 to 30 minutes. They would have a lasting effect of about three to four hours.

As marijuana industry evolves, Aspen sellers try to shed the stoner stereotypes

January 3, 2015 — 

To some purveyors of that green, leafy and legal-in-Colorado substance — as well as its edible, drinkable and fellow byproducts — the term “pot shop” makes them cringe. You also can add “weed,” “marijuana,” “dope” and other monikers to a list of terms that makes them as uncomfortable as those opposed to the legalization of — let’s get it right, now — cannabis.

“In a certain aspect, it’s about being politically correct,” said Jesse Miller, one of the owners of the Leaf Aspen recreational dispensary. “Calling our products ‘dope’ (as a noun) is politically incorrect.”

As Colorado enters its second year of legalized recreational marijuana sales, many in the industry are trying to distance themselves from the stoner-esque vocabulary that they claim fuels an unfair stereotype.

The quest to reverse the slacker image associated with users begins when customers visit the store, said Brian Radtke, who works for Green Dragon, which has medical and recreational operations in Aspen’s Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall.

“I think it starts with our employees, and people come in and see that we’re not your typical stoner and part of the cannabis culture,” Radtke said. “The culture is a sophisticated group of people; we have doctors, attorneys and upper-echelon clientele, and I don’t think they think of themselves as stoners. By using the term ‘cannabis,’ we’re trying to associate ourselves as upper-echelon.”

Even the word “marijuana,” according to Miller, sends the wrong message. Miller argues it’s a pejorative term — its roots are Mexican Spanish — that became commonplace in the 1930s when the drug became regulated in every state. Leading the way were newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst and the Du Pont family, which fought to outlaw industrial hemp so they could replace it with nylon.

Leaf’s Cally Shadowshot also gets a bit fired up about the word, so much so that she argues Colorado should change the name of its enforcement agency to better reflect the industry it monitors.

“It needs to be called the Cannabis Enforcement Division, not the Marijuana Enforcement Division,” Shadowshot said.

When Miller and his partners acquired Leaf, one of the first things they did was remove the pot-leaf image from their company logo.

Both Radtke and Miller said their stores don’t mandate that their employees use certain words and avoid using others, but they ask their workers to use common sense with whom their dealing.

“‘Pot,’ ‘weed,’ ‘stoner.’ Using those words in the general public is OK,” Radtke said. “But in the store, we try to refrain from those words. We want people to understand that we’re a professional business. It all comes back to educating, and educating and educating.”

As early as Jan. 20, downtown Aspen will have its fifth recreational dispensary when Native Roots opens. Native Roots is a Colorado chain, with stores scattered throughout the state.

Its chief executive officer, Josh Ginsberg, said he doesn’t get caught up in the lingo.

“My personal opinion is for people to call it whatever they want to,” Ginsberg said. “It’s a new industry, and if they want to call my place a pot shop, they can. Or they can call it a cannabis dispensary. That’s my mindset. I never want to put people in a box.”

But, Ginsberg said, his medical dispensaries adhere to a stricter vocabulary.

“We speak to everything as medicine,” he said. “But in the rec shops, we tell our employees to make the customer feel comfortable.”

For Miller, the industry’s shifting vocabulary is steering public perception. Last week, he said, a man entered his store, called him a “s--- head” and lambasted him for being in the business. Miller said he saw no point in arguing with the man and let him have his say. Miller’s job, he said, is to shed old stereotypes and rebrand the industry.

“If we approach this like ‘Cheech and Chong,’ everybody’s going to be worried about us,” Miller said.

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