Colorado Marijuana News
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 »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
Driving high questioned on busy day in CongressLearn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
Public hearing on retail pot in Vail is TuesdayJune 16, 2014 —
VAIL — A public hearing has been scheduled during the Tuesday, June 17 Vail Town Council meeting to continue discussions regarding policy options on the topic of retail marijuana sales. The item is listed sixth on the meeting agenda, which begins at 6 p.m. in the Vail Town Council Chambers.
The Vail Town Council will be reviewing a list of nearly 60 questions and issues forwarded by members of a 16-member working group that has been convened by the town to explore the topic. Representing various organizations throughout the community, the working group has met twice to help shape the public policy discussion.
Passage of Amendment 64 by Colorado voters in 2012 establishes a wide spectrum of options for local governments to consider, ranging from a prohibition on the operation of retail establishments to regulations reflecting the extent allowed by state law. A moratorium is currently in place, adopted previously by the town council, which bans retail sales in Vail. The moratorium expires on July 31.
During the meeting, Community Development Director George Ruther will present an update on the working group’s activities, review results from the Town of Vail community survey and provide information on retail sales policy decisions that have been made in surrounding jurisdictions. Following Ruther’s update, members of the public will be invited to offer their opinions and suggestions.
The discussion will be used to determine next steps in the information gathering process and to formulate a formal recommendation to the town council.
To forward comments to members of the Town Council in advance of the meeting, email email@example.com. For additional information, contact Ruther at 970-479-2145 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eagle County issues eight retail marijuana licensesMay 16, 2014 —
EAGLE COUNTY — A longtime local business family landed one of Eagle County’s rare retail marijuana licenses.
Jim and Kristin Comerford will add The Vail Bud Brewery to their roster of local businesses, which includes Subway sandwich shops, Vail’s Qdoba Mexican Grill and a real estate development company. They’ll partner with another local dispensary owner, Dave and Dieneka Manzanares of Sweet Leaf Pioneer in Eagle.
“We believe it is the new frontier,” Kristin Comerford said.
Jim and Kristin heard about it four months ago, so Jim visited a friend who had opened a retail shop on the Front Range.
He saw the possibilities, but didn’t know anything about the marijuana industry, so he attended the MMJ Business Academy, where he learned enough to get started and added those lessons to decades of retail experience.
“Being a retailer for 34 years in Vail, I went around to a couple new retail business in Denver, and did not see the kind of retail presentation that made me confortable,” Jim Comerford said. “We felt we could bring our retail expertise to this.”
They say they’re planning an upscale shop with high end finishes. They’ll have a small growing operation next to the retail shop, giving customers an experience similar to a brew pub where patrons can see beer being brewed.
“We plan to have an extensive and unsurpassed level of inventory that people can choose from,” Jim Comerford said.
Three medical marijuana businesses already in the valley were also awarded retail licenses: Treeline Premier in Eagle-Vail, and Holistic Healthcare and New Hope Wellness in Edwards.
In addition to The Vail Bud Brewery, two other new retail licenses went to Native Roots Apothecary and Rocky Road Remedies, both Front Range-based businesses.
Native Roots Apothecary is a two-person shop. Rhett Jordan and Josh Ginsberg comprise J&R Partners based in Denver/Boulder. They already operate a retail shop in Summit County.
Rocky Road Remedies is based in Colorado Springs. They have multiple shops and grow operations in the Colorado Springs area. They’re also a two-person partnership, Thomas Bowler and Renze Waddington.
“It seems that a lot of people from out of town trying to get licenses. We’re proud to be a local business,” Jim Comerford said.
Setting the bar high
When the Board of Commissioners gave the green light for retail sales of marijuana in Eagle County, they approved eight total licenses — six in the Eagle River Valley and two in El Jebel.
Eight Eagle River Valley applicants took a shot at those six licenses, seven from Eagle-Vail.
Three licenses were already reserved for medical dispensaries already operating in the Eagle River Valley, so that left three up for grabs in this end of the county.
“It’s not an easy business and you have to approach it with a professional background and some backing,” said Scot Hunn, senior planner with Eagle County, who rode herd on the county’s application process. “The ones who made application and were selected set a pretty high bar.”
Hunn said everyone met all the criteria – 200 foot setbacks from schools, residences, day care centers, rehab centers. A 500-foot buffer from high schools eliminated Edwards Station, where Wendy’s is located, because of its proximity to Battle Mountain and Red Canyon high schools.
All six selected have expressed interest in working with the schools and youth organizations working with kids, Hunn said.
They had to submit an employee training plan before they could get their licenses. Among other things, they had to outline the steps they’d take to avoid selling marijuana to people under 21.
They have until July 2 to complete the state’s application process. If they don’t, the license goes on down the line to someone else.
New Hope has already applied for their retail license, Hunn said.
Until these new retail shops open, the Manzanares’ Sweet Leaf Pioneer is the only retail shop in the valley. Their grand opening is Saturday.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or email@example.com.
Avon takes moves to ban retail marijuanaApril 28, 2014 —
AVON — Town Council members took the first step toward banning retail marijuana sales and grow operations at the April 22 meeting, passing on first reading an ordinance that would ban retail and grow operations in town.
The council voted 6-1 for the ban, with council member Jake Wolf casting the lone dissenting vote. In casting his vote, Wolf noted, as he has in the past, that more than 70 percent of town voters in 2012 voted to approve Amendment 64, the state constitutional amendment that legalized the possession and consumption of marijuana by people 21 and older.
The amendment also gave towns and counties the authority to either approve or deny retail sales. Eagle County and the town of Eagle are currently the only local jurisdictions that have approved retail sales and grow operations. Like Vail, Avon had enacted a moratorium on applications for retail and grow licenses in town. But, facing a June 1 deadline to either extend the moratorium or enact a ban, Avon’s council chose a ban.
Contacted after the meeting, council member Chris Evans said he doesn’t believe voting for the ban on sales violates the will of town voters.
Use in town is still allowed, Evans said. In addition, there are few locations in town where zoning might allow a shop, Evans said.
What Evans didn’t say is that there will almost certainly be two or more retail operations in Eagle-Vail in the near future.
Both Evans and Mayor Rich Carroll said they voted for the ban at least in part because of the image town officials are trying to create for the town.
Carroll said the town is working to be a complement to Beaver Creek, as well as a place that families want to visit and live in.
“I don’t think retail (marijuana sales) enhance that goal,” Carroll said.
Second reading of the ordinance — which would grant final approval — is set for May 6.
Eagle-Vail dispensary to get first marijuana vending machineApril 28, 2014 —
EAGLE-VAIL — Greg Honan thinks he might be blazing a new trail in the medical marijuana business. Stephan Shearin hopes he’s right.
Honan is the owner of the Herbal Elements medical marijuana dispensary in Eagle-Vail. He recently partnered with Tranzbyte, a company specializing in the technology of marijuana, to put the first ZaZZZ vending machine in the dispensary.
Nearly 200 people turned out at a recent invitation-only event at Montana’s Smokehouse in Avon to see how the machine worked. The machine had no marijuana products in it at the time — that couldn’t happen in a place with a liquor license, Honan said — but people could see how the thing will work once it’s at Herbal Elements.
Honan said it was well-received by potential customers. And he hopes those customers will find it more convenient to use when Herbal Elements gets all its required state permits and permissions and has the thing up and operating in the next few weeks.
When it is running, Honan said he expects the machine to help his business a few ways.
First, the ZaZZZ machine provides a secure way to store items. Honan said it will help state officials with the “seed to store” tracking system. Items will also be harder to steal since the machine weighs roughly 1,000 pounds when it’s fully loaded.
The machine will also free up display space. Honan said the machine can display about 80 items in the space where 20 items now sit.
Finally, the machine can provide a more efficient way to serve clients.
Honan said new clients require a lot of time and attention to guide them through the range of medical marijuana products. A client who knows what he or she wants can come in, get an ID check in person, then another at the machine, buy the desired products and leave.
Shearin, the chief operating officer of Tranzbyte, the company that makes the ZaZZZ machine, said the company had talked to a number of dispensary operators before deciding on Herbal Elements as the first host for its machine.
“(Honan) was the first guy to really understand what we’re trying to do,” Shearin said.
The goal, both Honan and Shearin say, is to further normalize the marijuana business. Shearin equated using the ZaZZZ machine to self-checkout areas at grocery or home-improvement stores. And, he added, the ZaZZZ machine will be a good way to make more edible products available. That’s another area Tranzbyte is working in, Shearin said.
“We really see edibles as where the market is going,” Shearin said. “We think most people want that in the future.”
While the ZaZZZ machines will go to medical dispensaries initially — Shearin said Tranzbyte already has numerous orders — Honan sees an opportunity for the machine to have an effect on the recreational marijuana business, too. There could be a day when a dual operation such as the one envisioned for Herbal Elements has a machine for medical products in one half of the operation and a machine for recreational products in another part.
“It really helps in taking out human error,” Honan said.
“The machine is really spurring conversation,” Shearin said. “Let’s get people talking about what (the marijuana business) means.”
Tabernash resident floats ideas for marijuana co-opApril 24, 2014 —
TABERNASH — Agritourism is new a way to experience Colorado’s unique heritage, and now a Grand County group is trying to combine it with another of the state’s fascinations – legalized marijuana.
“We have fabulous marijuana at this altitude,” said Susan Kuglitsch, of Tabernash, a proponent of cannabis agritourism in Grand County. “That secret will get out quick. We’d like to (promote enjoying) it responsibly in a nice family setting.”
Kuglitsch has a vision to make Colorado’s marijuana known beyond its pot shops. She’s working to form a cannabis cooperative, or co-op, that obtains licenses to grow, process and sell both marijuana and hemp products. That budding, self-sustaining business model could also be used to draw tourists to Grand County through cannabis-based agritourism.
“Agritourism, cooperation among growers, community involvement and economic development are attainable goals,” she said.
Kuglitsch said she has around 10 members from across the county so far, but she hopes to grow that number to 100 by the end of the summer. Once she secures enough founding members, Kuglitsch said the co-op will begin working on a for-profit business plan.
She expects much of that profit to come from cannabis tourists to the county. Kuglitsch pointed out that many people already visit the state because of its legalized marijuana, pointing to the recent 4/20 celebrations as an example.
“Many people travel to Colorado to openly use cannabis and to explore the healthy and rugged lifestyle,” Kuglitsch said. “We want to show (cannabis) is a productive aspect of our economy, beyond just pot shops.”
According to the Colorado Tourism Office, one of its major initiatives is to “raise awareness and appreciation for Colorado’s heritage tourism assets.” It partnered with the Colorado Department of Agriculture in 2012 to help promote the state’s agricultural roots through “agritourism,” which includes public relations campaigns, research and advertising. Agritourism initiatives have helped connect visitors to the state’s many farms, ranches, wine-makers, Christmas tree sellers and farmers markets.
Because Amendment 64 and marijuana legalization were such landmark events for Colorado, Kuglitsch said cannabis cultivation represents an important part of the state’s cultural heritage as well. It’s not a stretch in her mind to bring it under the Colorado agritourism effort.
“I think we have to be realistic and say cannabis is now part of our economy and part of our culture,” she said. “Hopefully we can use it to bring an element of hemp, co-op farming and industry to our county to generate jobs and profit for farmers.”
The Colorado Department of Agriculture regulates the industrial hemp program, but that’s about as close as its come to associating with any form of cannabis so far. Marijuana-based agritourism has yet to be a seriously floated concept.
“I can’t say that I’ve heard of this before, as it relates to marijuana,” said the department’s Deputy Commissioner, Ron Carleton. “I’m not terribly surprised. There seems to be a lot of new things going on now that Amendment 64 is being implemented.”
Before the Department of Agriculture or Office of Tourism will tango with a cannabis-based tourism industry, it’s likely Kuglitsch’s co-op with have to go through the state’s Department of Revenue first. That department is charged with regulating retail marijuana operations.
“That would be the starting point, quite frankly,” Carleton said. “(We’d) refer them to revenue first and see where it goes from there.”
County residents looking to get involved in Kuglitsch’s cannabis co-op can contact her through her business and tourism promotion website, www.OnAPM.com.
Leia Larsen can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603.