Colorado Marijuana News
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.”Learn more »
Can Colorado issue a water right to irrigate marijuana plants when federal law still says that growing pot is a crime?
That’s the question being asked by a division engineer and a water referee in Div. 5 water court in Glenwood Springs in response to a water rights application filed by High Valley Farms, LLC.Learn more »
Marijuana-infused-patch maker Joshua Meacham is looking to relocate his business from the space formerly occupied by Poppie’s Bistro to a basement space located below Johnny McGuire’s Deli.
His application with the city of Aspen for change of location is set for a hearing on Jan. 6. The current location is 835 W. Hallam St., and the new location is listed as 730 E. Cooper Ave., a space that formerly housed Leaf Aspen.Learn more »
The greeter at the new Green Dragon location on the Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall checks IDs and bounces his head to the music playing. Inside, the budtenders, as they’re called, field a wide range of questions. “How much does a vaporizer cost?” “Why’s the Super Joint more expensive than the other ones?”
It’s a bit more low-key a few blocks away at the new Leaf Aspen location, where an upbeat Cally Shadowshot beams about the store’s signature products and its homegrown marijuana supply of 40 pounds that’s being cultivated for the dispensary’s inventory.Learn more »
Along with the rest of Colorado, it’s now legal in Aspen to smoke marijuana for recreational purposes.
But many questions surround its use and sale, as municipalities and counties across Colorado, including Aspen and Pitkin County, have taken steps to restrict and limit its consumption. Where can a local or a visitor smoke legally without fear of arrest or citation? How much legal weed can an individual purchase? Is it illegal to buy “black market” pot?Learn more »
VAIL — As more recreational marijuana dispensaries opened up in the area, some authorities and residents thought the problem of public smoking would become an increasingly visible problem. Instead, according to police and resort records, incidents of public consumption have not shown any significant increase over last year.
In Vail, the town has strict rules against using marijuana in public areas, and use is prohibited on the ski resorts, which is on federal U.S. Forest Service land. So far, there are no retail recreational marijuana stores in Vail, which has put a temporary moratorium on the businesses since retail shops became legal.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
Aspen, Pitkin County officials highlight recreational marijuana concernsAugust 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.
The Valley Marijuana Council was organized in January to create a cohesive community approach to facilitate the safe, responsible and successful inception of recreational marijuana into the Aspen and Pitkin County community. Since its formation, the council has held a half-dozen public meetings.
At Tuesday’s Pitkin County commissioners work session, the commissioners convened with the Pitkin County Board of Health and had a discussion with Liz Stark, the Pitkin County public health director; Kurt Dahl, Pitkin County environmental health manager; Tom Dunlop, environmental public health advocate; Jordan Sabella, public health planner; C.J. Oliver, city of Aspen environmental and sustainability manager and Dr. Kimberly Levin, Pitkin County medical officer.
Stark presents quarterly updates, issues and concerns to the Board of Health to review and offer input on. She presented the commissioners with three broad questions to consider as the health officials gave their presentations: What are your biggest public-health concerns around the legalization of marijuana, what are your biggest environmental-health concerns around the legalization of marijuana, and what prevention efforts do you think would be most important to focus on?
Each health official then spoke about specific issues they’ve dealt with. Levin talked about the medical side of marijuana use and the problems she’s seeing with accidental overdoses on edible marijuana products.
Sabella talked about what’s being done at the state level to learn more about the health impacts of marijuana use and some of the information available through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Dahl and Oliver focused on the regulation of edible marijuana products, and both said they favored creating local regulations pertaining to the food safety of marijuana edibles and extraction devices used to make products like hash oil.
Dunlop shared some conversations he’s had with other public health officials from across the nation. He said most of his colleagues, despite not having recreational marijuana in their states, believe the public-health community has a lot of catching up to do before it clearly understands the full repercussions of the use of marijuana.
After the health officials all made their presentations, Commissioners George Newman and Rachel Richards both agreed that the marijuana industry was far ahead of the health community and that there is still a long way to go as far as public education.
That’s when DiSalvo offered his opinion on the amount of public outreach and work with the local dispensaries the Valley Marijuana Council has undertaken already.
“We’ve already taken on about 75 percent of the issues discussed here today,” he said. “We’re working to get the edibles out of the hands of children. We asked the dispensaries to get rid of the look-alike products, and they’re working with us to do just that. We’ve developed a pamphlet that we want to have in as many hotel rooms as possible that gives a lot of information on buying and using marijuana. I think we’re getting the message out there, especially in Aspen.”
DiSalvo then spoke directly to the commissioners about the Valley Marijuana Council meetings.
“I don’t think any of you have attended a meeting yet,” he said. “You should. I think we’re ahead of a lot of the issues discussed today.”
After the meeting, DiSalvo was asked what he could do to help the Board of Health get a better grasp of what the Valley Marijuana Council is accomplishing.
“I need to work harder to get the message out when I have the meetings,” DiSalvo said. “Maybe it would make more sense to have a separate meeting with the City Council and Board of County Commissioners to push the education forward with them. The best thing about today is now maybe we can all get on the same page and move our efforts forward.”
Aspen marijuana seller said to be considering Hyman mallAugust 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.
The spot, directly underneath New York Pizza, is currently empty. For more than two years it was occupied by Koto Aspen, which sold novelty items and unusual furnishing objects before vacating the space during the spring.
Manning said she recently supplied application forms to Green Dragon owner Ron Radtke, who must seek approval for the move from the city’s Local Licensing Authority. Radtke could not be reached for comment Thursday.
If approved, Green Dragon would be the first pot purveyor to open directly on the city’s pedestrian mall, which despite its many bars and nightspots is sometimes marketed as a family-friendly area. While Green Dragon’s current space is just a stone’s throw from the Hyman mall, it doesn’t directly face it.
Green Dragon has received the paperwork it needs to apply for the move but has yet to turn in the application, Manning said. There are no city laws that would bar a pot shop from opening in the pedestrian mall, which includes parts of East Cooper Avenue, South Mill Street and South Galena Street as well as East Hyman Avenue.
The ground-floor spot at 409 E. Hyman Ave. has 1,360 square feet. There also is 1,280 square feet of basement space that would not necessarily be connected to a lease for the ground-floor space. Developer Mark Hunt bought the entire 3,920-square-foot building in July for $4.75 million.
Commercial real estate broker Karen Setterfield, who brokered the building sale for Hunt and the seller, Grand Junction-based P&L Properties, said she has not been involved in any negotiations for the lease of the ground-floor space.
“I sold the building,” Setterfield said. “I’ve heard that (Hunt) has a tenant, but I have no idea who it is.”
The Local Licensing Authority meets Sept. 2, but Manning said the agenda already has been set — it’s too late for the 409 E. Hyman Ave. space to be considered by the board on that date because the application has yet to be submitted. The board meets on the first Tuesday of each month.
Councilman Adam Frisch said he would have no problem with Green Dragon or any marijuana shop opening on the downtown pedestrian mall. The council decided in late July it would not try to cap the number of pot shops within city limits by extending a moratorium on new enterprises. Frisch was out of town when the decision was made, but he said he agrees with it.
Green Dragon, the second enterprise to offer recreational marijuana sales within Aspen’s city limits, would not have been affected by an extension of the cap.
“I personally don’t want to get involved in which private businesses can go where,” Frisch said. “My dream is not to see 50 pot shops in town and not to see 20 of them in the mall, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. If we have a few pot shops sprinkled around town, regardless if they are on the mall or somewhere else, I don’t think it’s an issue.”
Frisch said that while he appreciates the family-friendly aspects of the mall, he also understands that the pot trade is here to stay in Colorado. In November 2012, voters across the state approved a referendum allowing recreational marijuana to be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol. Medical marijuana already was legal but not as accessible.
“I think that’s where Colorado is and where the rest of the country is going,” Frisch said. “There is a growing tolerance (about marijuana).”
The City Clerk’s Office also recently received a request by a company affiliated with John Meacham, of Old Snowmass, to open a medical marijuana sales operation in the Victorian house that was the former location of Poppies Bistro Cafe, which closed in early 2009. The building is at the corner of West Hallam and Eighth streets, near the S-curves.
Meacham & Co. LLC formally submitted the application this week, Manning said. The company registered as a limited-liability company with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office in March. It has a pending application with the state to sell medical marijuana, a first step before acquiring a municipal license.
Meacham could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Manning said the Local Licensing Authority will deal with two applications to sell recreational marijuana products on Sept. 2. Leaf Aspen and Alternative Medical Solutions, which already are licensed to sell medical marijuana in Aspen, want to expand their operations.
Leaf, located at 730 E. Cooper Ave., across the street from City Market grocery, wants to open a recreational pot shop in the North of Nell building off East Durant Avenue. Alternative Medical Solutions, which has a medical marijuana shop in an upstairs space near the El Rincon restaurant on South Mill Street, would sell recreational pot products in an office near its existing space, Manning said.
Marijuana council, hospitality industry talk Aspen’s pot issuesAugust 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.
The four-person panel included Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo, city of Aspen Assistant City Attorney Debbie Quinn, Silverpeak Apothecary owner Jordan Lewis and Aspen Chamber Director of Services Erik Klanderud.
DiSalvo said the more healthy discussions the public has about marijuana use, the better.
“We need to get past the fear and paranoia,” DiSalvo said. “Communication is vital if we want to introduce marijuana safely and responsibly within our community. We don’t have to use it, but we have to accept it.”
DiSalvo spoke of the importance of lowering adolescent use of pot, using caution with edible marijuana products and having the option to dispose of any unused marijuana at the amnesty box located at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport.
“We don’t want to encourage people to throw marijuana products into a garbage can,” DiSalvo said. “We don’t want the product tossed somewhere where others can get it.”
One hotel manager asked where visitors were supposed to smoke pot in Aspen if it’s not allowed to be consumed in a public place.
“That’s a tough one,” Quinn said. “Most hotels don’t allow smoking, but a hotel room isn’t considered public. That’s a hotel policy issue.”
There was some confusion concerning whether someone could rent a room from a hotel for an event where pot would be smoked. Attorney Lauren Maytin said she believes if a room is rented for a private party at a hotel and the hotel isn’t controlling the party, then the hotel isn’t legally responsible for people smoking.
“Aspen is complaint-driven,” Maytin said. “If no one complains about the private party, (Aspen) won’t come looking for you unless you advertise.”
One condominium owner was concerned about people smoking in her units and suggested that Aspen needs someone to provide a space where visitors can smoke.
“We’re very aware of that issue,” Quinn said. “The Aspen City Council talked about the marijuana-club issue, and we’re willing to discuss the issue, but we’re not ready to go in that direction yet.”
Several hotel representatives expressed worries about dealing with people who consume too much marijuana and wondered how many people have been ticketed for excessive consumption.
Aspen Police Chief Richard Pryor said that in general, there have been few complaints about smoking pot publicly.
“We haven’t written any tickets for public consumption since the (recreational) law was put into place,” Pryor said.
DiSalvo said there’s only been one arrest in Pitkin County on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana.
Retail pot shop opens in Eagle-VailAugust 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.
The first of those shops, Native Roots, opens Monday in Eagle-Vail, in the back part of the building that once housed the Route 6 Cafe.
When Eagle County finished its regulations for retail shops, Native Roots — a Front Range-based company with medical dispensaries and retail shops in Boulder and Denver — was already in the midst of working through an application for a medical dispensary at the Eagle-Vail site.
Scot Hunn, a senior planner with the county who focuses on marijuana license applications, said that head start helped Native Roots get open first.
It’s a complex process to obtain a retail license. A potential operator first has to clear all of the state’s myriad requirements. After that, it’s time to meet the county’s licensing requirements. Before a license is issued and sales can start, the operator of a dispensary or retail store also has to go through an extensive building-permit process.
Hunn said an operator must submit plans that include everything from security to ventilation.
“They have to show us on paper that they can provide a solution to potential problems,” Hunn said.
That building permit approval is important for stores or dispensaries in multi-unit buildings, so neighbors aren’t affected by odors, but Hunn said the requirements are especially important for growing operations, which create more odors than shops.
Final license approval is granted after a final inspection, and licenses must be renewed every year, pending inspections.
Hunn said at the moment another five licenses are pending for this part of the county, with two in process for the potion of the county in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Three of those licenses were reserved for the three existing medical dispensaries in the valley. Hunn said there were eight applicants for the remaining three licenses. All of those recreational license-holders are now working through the approval process, Hunn said. One of the two businesses currently based in Edwards is working on a move to Eagle-Vail in the name of finding a larger space.
Native Roots co-owner Rhett Jordan said his company was attracted to the valley by a couple of things — opportunity, and the fact he’s been coming here since he was a kid growing up in the Denver area.
“The Vail Valley’s been a big part of my life, and when we heard Eagle (county) was going recreational, we decided to come.”
While a recreational license will certainly attract tourists, Jordan said the medical part of Native Roots’ business remains its top priority.
That business has changed significantly since dispensaries began opening quickly in 2009. That rush followed a U.S. Department of Justice directive to essentially ignore those businesses, although marijuana possession, sale and consumption is a federal crime. Another directive a couple of years later essentially reined in the dispensary business. Jordan said the number of dispensaries in the state has dropped from a high of more than 1,200 to just more than 500 today.
Jordan said the people left in the business today tend to be more professional.
“The industry has really started to shift — I think we all wanted to create something bigger and stronger.”
And, like others in the industry, Jordan believes that if Colorado sets a good example in the wake of the 2012 ballot issue that legalized recreational use in the state, it could bode well for legalization in other states, too.
But is five shops in Eagle-Vail too much? Jordan said Eagle County might have “overshot the market a little to get more competition.”
As the number of recreational stores multiplies, it will be interesting to see who survives.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, firstname.lastname@example.org or @scottnmiller.
Driving high questioned on busy day in CongressJuly 31, 2014 —
Driving high questioned on busy day in Congress
Eds: APNewsNow. Will be updated.
By ALICIA A. CALDWELL
WASHINGTON — Amid all the debates on Capitol Hill, lawmakers are also wondering whether driving cars after smoking marijuana is dangerous.
Among the unanswered questions is: Would drivers who are ‘high’ travel too fast or too slow for safety?
Congressman John Mica, a Florida Republican, convened a hearing Thursday of a Transportation subcommittee. He says he’s worried that growing numbers of drivers are impaired, increasingly with a mix of drugs and alcohol. But he says it’s nearly impossible to gauge the danger. Unlike with alcohol, there there’s no way to quickly test drivers.
Congressman Gerald Connolly, a Virginia Democrat, says it’s just as possible that pot doesn’t pose as much a risk as alcohol. He says drivers who are high on marijuana may even drive slower.