Colorado Marijuana News
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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 percentLearn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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 »
Fraser green lights second retail marijuana storeDecember 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.
Growhouse Fraser LLC, Grand County’s second licensed marijuana business, will occupy an approximately 1,900 square-foot suite upstairs in the Alco Shopping Center.
The new store, which has already acquired its state license, is slated to open in late December, said owner Craig Clark. It will not include a grow operation and will only offer retail marijuana sales, Clark said.
Clark, a Denver-based attorney and former Marine with Grand County roots, said he hopes other business owners can benefit from his new store, whether it be from cross promotion or simply increased traffic through the Alco center.
“We want to open a shop that supports the community,” Clark said.
During the hearing, other local business owners echoed Clark’s hopes for a symbiotic relationship and expressed minimal concerns.
Dennis Finnigan’s business, Fraser Valley Photo, sits just below Clark’s suite. Finnigan said he had some reservations about traffic on the stairs to and from the store, but said he was hopeful that both businesses could coexist.
“I hope it works, and I hope that we all can benefit from it in one way or the other,” Finnigan said.
Clark Lipscomb, representing the nearby Grand Park development and Byers Peak Ranch, questioned whether the new marijuana shop was too close to an approved school site on the Byers Peak Ranch property, and whether it was too close to another Grand Park property along U.S. Highway 40 that could house a retail marijuana store in the future.
Town ordinances dictate that marijuana businesses cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a school or 500 feet of each other. The town determined that Clark’s shop exceeded the requisite distance in both instances.
The approval marks the latest victory for entrepreneurs hoping to tap in to Grand County’s marijuana market. Despite countywide approval for Amendment 64 in 2012, most towns in Grand County have banned marijuana businesses within their borders. Only Fraser and unincorporated Grand County allow such businesses, and only the county allows grow operations.
Craig told the board that, if his business were successful, he would consider expanding his presence in the county.
“If we create a viable business in the town of Fraser, we would evaluate creating our own wholesale or supply facility as well, somewhere,” Clark said.
Hot Sulphur voters support marijuana bansNovember 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.
Advisory Questions 2C, 2D, 2E and 2F asked residents if they supported the existing town bans on retail marijuana stores, marijuana cultivation facilities (growhouses/greenhouses), marijuana product manufacturing facilities and marijuana testing facilities.
The four advisory questions were intended to provide town trustees with constituent opinions regarding the bans and to inform any future decisions the trustees might make regarding the ban on marijuana facilities.
Additionally, Ballot Issue 2A and 2B asked residents if they approved of the town passing a sales tax and an excise tax on retail marijuana products and cultivation facilities in the event the Board of Trustees allowed such facilities within Hot Sulphur Springs.
Ballot Issue 2A and 2B and the taxes proposed in them were applicable if, and only if, marijuana facilities were to be approved by the Trustees at a later date.
While the Board of Trustees retains the ability to allow marijuana facilities in their community, if the results of the election are any indication, they will not be approving such facilities anytime soon.
Residents approved of the existing ban on retail marijuana facilities with 195 yes votes and 139 no votes. Voters also supported the town ban on marijuana cultivation facilities with 209 yes votes and 123 no votes. Likewise the Hot Sulphur Springs’ bans on marijuana product manufacturing facilities and marijuana testing facilities were supported by voters with Question 2E receiving 201 yes votes to 133 no votes and Question 2F taking 212 yes votes to 121 no votes.
Ballot Issues 2A and 2B were also voted down, though by much closer margins with Issue 2A receiving 154 yes votes to 175 no votes and 2B receiving 152 yes votes to 175 no votes.
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.
Native Roots, in the back of the former Route 6 Cafe building, was the first to open. There, general manager Grant Troeger said business has been anywhere from good to crazy. After the store opened in early August, as many as 500 people per day would come in.
Four people came in during a 10-minute visit to the store on a recent early evening.
Just to the west, a new store, Rocky Road, is set to open Nov. 8. Both Native Roots and Rocky Road are parts of larger companies — the third shop, Roots Rx, is locally owned. But Native Roots and Rocky Road seem to reflect two approaches to the business.
Native Roots is in a more bare-bones space. The employees are friendly and the shelves are well-stocked, but the decor is simple.
Rocky Road seems aimed at destination guests, with plenty of wood and stone on the walls and floors. About half the store can also be shut off from the other half. The idea is if a well-heeled guests calls ahead and asks to stay out of sight of other clients, he or she can be ushered in through the back door for a discrete visit.
More to come?
The three current recreational businesses in Eagle-Vail could be joined soon by another two. In all, Eagle County will make eight recreational licenses available — five in Eagle-Vail, one in Edwards and another two in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Is that too much?
Putnam Pierman, of Rocky Road, doesn’t think so.
“There’s actually very little competition when you think of all the bars and liquor stores around,” Pierman said.
While Rocky Road has taken an upscale approach, Pierman said that business intends to rely on local customers. Those are the people who will recommend the business to concierges and visitors. Troeger added that local residents will keep businesses running between tourist seasons.
Greg Honan has operated the Herbal Elements medical marijuana dispensary since 2009. Herbal Elements’ recreational license is still in the lengthy, expensive approval process, but Honan said that’s a part of the business his shop needs to get into soon.
Asked about the growth of the business in Eagle-Vail, Honan said there are both opportunities and challenges for his business.
The opportunities include being able to work with, and share ideas with, other operators. For Honan, opportunity also exists in his growing business, which is based in Eagle-Vail, and is able to expand as state regulations evolve.
Honan noted there are several advantages to keeping a medical license, as well as a permit to buy medical marijuana.
Medical customers can be as young as 18, while recreational marijuana is limited to those 21 and older. Medical marijuana purchasers also are exempt from the 25 percent state tax on recreational products.
Honan said state and local officials at some point will have to re-evaluate the level of taxation on recreational marijuana. Taxes, and the difficulty and expense of applying for permits and licenses have kept many black-market growers and sellers from going into the legal-marijuana business, he said.
Some of those requirements include plenty of education. Troeger and Rocky Road manager Suzannah Tarpey both said educating customers is a crucial part of their jobs, especially when it comes to visitors.
That education includes a lot of talking to people about the need to take it easy with edible products — which can take an hour or more to take effect.
Tarpey, a longtime veteran of the Vail restaurant and bar business, said she’s seen people on the floor after eating too much.
Longtime Eagle-Vail business Thurston Kitchen and Bath is two doors down from Rocky Road. There, designer Ken Jones said the new neighbors have created a clean, efficient space.
“They’re handling it well,” Jones said. “And anything that puts more people on our sidewalk is good.”
At the Route 6 Cafe, owner Ollie Holdstock said he’s been happy with what he’s seen so far.
Holdstock said marijuana has been a part of life in the Vail Valley in the 30-plus years he’s lived here. The sales taxes — the state’s portion of which are dedicated to school construction — are also nice to have, he said.
Holdstock said his business is up in the last six months, although whether that has anything to do with the marijuana business isn’t clear.
“But Eagle-Vail was a dying entity before they came,” Holdstock said. “Businesses are moving in again.”
And, he said, people who come to buy marijuana products might just stop in for a burger and a beer while they’re in the neighborhood.
At Native Roots, the old business area seems to be going through a burst of activity. In addition to the deli and gas station out front, a brewery is being established right next door, and a Crossfit studio has opened up across the parking lot.
“Every single company here has come in to tell us, ‘People know where we are now,’” Troeger said.
Growers abandon $8.3 million in illegal potOctober 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.
A hunter trekking in the Cottonwood Pass area south of Gypsum found the around 1,000 pot plants growing on private land Oct. 1. The hunter did not strap any of it to the hood of his truck, as hunters used to do with their quarry, but instead notified the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.
When deputies arrived, they found an elaborate irrigation system bringing life-giving fluids to the 1,000 pot plants. They also found a campsite nearby.
Deputies hid and watched for a long time, but no suspects showed up to harvest their crop. Eventually, because the plants would have to be harvested before the frost, and because it has already begun to frost at night, deputies decided no one was coming to claim the makeshift pot plantation. So deputies confiscated and destroyed all of the marijuana plants.
The landowner did not know the pot was there, the Sheriff’s Office said, and was happy when it was gone.
With perfect conditions outdoors, a mature pot plant can yield up to around 18 ounces, according to The Weed Blog.
If those 1,000 plants all yielded 18 ounces, at $196 per ounce for medium grade weed according to priceofweed.com, the growers would have yielded $352,000.
The case remains under investigation, the Sheriff’s Office said in a written statement.
Pitkin pot connection?
It’s not clear whether the Cottonwood Pass pot plantation was related to the Ruedi Reservoir reefer in Pitkin County found last week, but investigators are looking for connections, said Jessie Mosher, public information with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.
The Pitkin County pot plantation near Ruedi was on public land, and growers walked away from a crop worth between $6 million and $8 million, said Scott Fitzwilliams, forest supervisor with the White River National Forest.
Forest Service workers pulled 2,630 plants out of the ground and destroyed them.
That site was also found by hunters, Fitzwilliams said.
That growing operation was simple but effective, Fitzwilliams said. A “check dam” on a nearby creek created a water source for irrigation. A gravity-fed piping system delivered water to the site.
The pot plants, which were up to 6 feet tall, were growing in three or four clumps in natural clearings between subalpine fir and aspen trees in an area smaller than 2 acres, Fitzwilliams said.
The Forest Service is keeping the exact location under wraps while it finishes its investigation.
In September 2013, an illegal operation was found near Hayes Creek in the Redstone area, worth more than $8 million. Forest Service officials yanked 3,375 marijuana plants out of the ground.
Since 2009, 34 illegal marijuana grow sites and more than 65,000 marijuana plants have been eradicated from national forests in Colorado.
The agency estimates the plants produce an average of 1 pound of marijuana per plant.
While Colorado voters approved use of recreational marijuana, the federal government still views pot as illegal, the agency said in a statement.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Basalt's first retail pot store approved, aims for October openingSeptember 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.
The Basalt council lifted a moratorium on retail marijuana operations earlier this year and decided it would issue only two licenses. An application is pending for the second license, according to Police Chief Greg Knott.
The application for Roots RX was approved by Mayor Jacque Whitsitt and council members Bernie Grauer, Rob Leavitt and Herschel Ross. Councilmen Rick Stevens and Mark Kittle opposed granting the license, though they didn’t state their reasons.
Councilman Gary Tennenbaum wasn’t able to attend.
An audience member who attended the hearing asked if the store complies with town regulations that require a buffer of at least 500 feet from a child care facility, 500 feet from a park and 1,000 feet from a school. Town staff members said the site complies. It also complies with a requirement that no signs be visible for the business along a school route.
The owner of a construction business located next to the store site said there isn’t enough parking for existing business plus the retail operation, but town officials said the site meets Basalt’s code requirements.
Basalt’s attorney, Tom Smith, told the council that the town’s water attorney, Tom Kinney, notified him that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has taken the position that no water it supplies can be used in any way by a marijuana operation. Basalt contracts for water from the Reclamation Bureau from Ruedi Reservoir.
Roots RX won’t have a grow operation. Its only water use is for a bathroom.
In theory, Smith said, turning on a faucet or flushing a toilet at the Roots RX store could put the town’s water contract at risk. However, the U.S. Attorney General’s Office has adopted a hands-off policy with the lawful operation of voter-approved marijuana businesses in Colorado and Washington. Smith said the Reclamation Bureau is unlikely to single out Basalt’s water contract for litigation. Hundreds of marijuana business exist throughout Colorado that likely use water sources tied to the Reclamation Bureau, he said.
“I’m not perceiving it as a realistic risk at this point,” Smith told the council.
After a mild case of hand-wringing by some council members, the board decided to proceed with a vote on the license application rather than table the issue for further investigation of the water implications.
“My thought is this seems like a pretty far-fetched thing,” Whitsitt said. “It seems crazy to hold this up.”
The board approved the one-year license with a condition that it can reconsider if the operation places its water contract with the Reclamation Bureau in jeopardy. The license will go through an annual review for renewal, similar to liquor licenses.
Tramm said after the meeting that the store will open as soon as construction to retrofit the interior is completed. He said it will aim for mid-October.
Town residents will vote in November whether to approve a special tax on retail sales of marijuana. During Tuesday’s meeting, it was noted that the tax revenue could potentially be used to enhance preschool education efforts in Basalt.
“Stoners for education,” Ross quipped.