Marijuana

New retail marijuana shop opens in Eagle-Vail

January 20, 2016 — 

EAGLE-VAIL — A new recreational marijuana shop, High Country Healing, has opened on the “Green Mile” along U.S. Highway 6.

The shop will hold a grand opening celebration Jan. 22 with food, live music and specials throughout the store. Together with a local development company, the shop is next to the Route 6 Café in Eagle-Vail.

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Can the pot industry one day rival skiing?

January 20, 2016 — 

EAGLE COUNTY — Skiing is king in the Vail Valley — always has been. But will it always be so?

Winter sports will probably always dominate the Vail Valley’s economy. Despite years of effort, the town of Vail collects about 70 percent of its annual sales taxes during the ski season. That could change in the future, and perhaps the near future.

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Aspen and Colorado marketers legally restricted from marketing marijuana

December 14, 2015 — 

A recent study showed that 6.8 percent of visitors said legal marijuana was their driving force to vacation in Colorado, but both state and Aspen tourism officials have no plans to market the state for its pot.

“We operate on Forest Service land, so you do the math,” said Christian Knapp, vice president of marketing for Aspen Skiing Co.

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Change in ownership looms for Aspen marijuana dispensary

December 7, 2015 — 

Alternative Medical Solutions, one of downtown Aspen’s seven recreational cannabis dispensaries, is set to change ownership for $382,000.

Steamboat Springs resident Kenneth Porteous is scheduled to appear Wednesday before the Local Licensing Authority regarding his application to buy the business, located upstairs at 106 S. Mill St.

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Council upholds license approvals for Osiris pot grow

November 19, 2015 — 

The last of a series of marijuana business applications to go through the former city of Glenwood Springs licensing review process before new rules were enacted this summer got the green light to proceed from City Council Thursday night.

Council voted 6-1 to uphold city licensing officer Angela Roff’s decision last month to grant licenses for Osiris LLC to operate a cultivation, manufacturing and retail marijuana sales facility at 2150 Devereux Road.

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Chamber, library file joint appeal of pot shop OK

October 16, 2015 — 

The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association and Garfield County Public Library District have teamed up to appeal the recent city decision to grant a license for a new downtown marijuana shop.

The chamber and library boards on Friday issued an appeal to Glenwood Springs City Council regarding license hearing officer Angela Roff’s Oct. 9 decision to approve the Kind Castle retail marijuana store at 818 Grand Ave.

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Denver warning issued over Aspen pot capsules

September 29, 2015 — 

Concerns over the manufacturing process prompted a Denver health agency on Friday to warn consumers about a marijuana-related edible product made in Aspen.

The Denver Department of Environmental Health removed Rx Green’s Autopilots Omega 3 & THC capsules from the shelves of Denver dispensaries and destroyed them, said Danica Lee, the department’s food safety section manager. The agency warned consumers to destroy any of the product made before Sept. 17, according to a statement.

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High Valley Farms lives to grow another year

September 23, 2015 — 

Jordan Lewis said he was “literally betting the farm” on his pot-growing facility near Basalt. The gamble paid off — for the time being at least.

Pitkin County commissioners voted 4-1 Wednesday to renew separate, one-year licenses for High Valley Farms, which is co-owned by Lewis and is the cannabis supplier to Silverpeak Apothecary in Aspen and other marijuana dispensaries in Colorado.

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Shops expect big crowds for tax holiday

September 13, 2015 — 

EAGLE COUNTY — Marijuana enthusiasts can add one more holiday to their calendars. On Sept. 16, recreational pot will be sold without state-added taxes.

Those taxes were approved by voters in 2013, a year after the state approved a constitutional amendment legalizing the possession and retail sale of marijuana for recreational purposes. Since revenue has exceeded projections in the ballot measure, refunds are being given in the form of a one-day price break.

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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.

Silverpeak CEO Jordan Lewis said the problem is being remedied, but it hasn’t been an easy process.

“We’ve been aware of and working on the odor issue nonstop for three months, and because it’s a top priority for us, we will continue to work on it until we find a solution,” Lewis said in an email to The Aspen Times. “We have engaged the manufacturer of our current odor-suppression system and other engineers, consultants and scientists to help us. Like many of the things we are doing, this is the first time this technology has been applied to the cannabis industry, and there is a steep learning curve.”

The county’s license for High Valley Farms, which is located off Highway 82 near the Roaring Fork Club and the Holland Hills residential area, comes up for annual renewal in September. Commissioners at the March meeting said they won’t renew it if the stink persists.

Newman said it’s important to get ahead of the issue before the September renewal date.

“If we can get this on an agenda shortly, we can inform the residents who have been sending those emails and cornering me in the store,” he said.

County Manager Jon Peacock said the issue could be reserved for a commissioners’ work session, but noted it’s important to also discuss it privately with County Attorney Jon Ely.

“The board has the ability to call an executive session if you wish to get advice from our attorney,” he said.

Peacock said the smell is a “license issue, not an enforcement issue.”

But High Valley Farms might not be the source of the odor, said Commissioner Pattie Clapper.

“It’s my understanding there may be another grow operation in the Holland Hills area that may be contributing to this,” she said, adding that she didn’t know if that’s true or just a rumor.

Commissioner Michael Owsley cautioned that a meeting about the grow center’s smell could just rile up the neighbors who didn’t want it there in the first place.

Lewis also said that numerous alternatives are being explored to get rid of the smell.

“The original installation has been systematically modified to accomplish the desired results,” his email said. “Each modification requires days of testing and monitoring, and in between each, the system may be down for days at a time on a given house. We have made great progress over the last couple of months, and realize that there is still a ways to go, but are confident in saying that this will be addressed to the satisfaction of the community.

“Ancillary technologies are simultaneously being studied as a way to supplement the existing system as well. We are committed to exploring every environmentally friendly option available to permanently solve this problem. We appreciate the patience and support of the community as we mature through what is a quite public coming-of-age.”

rcarroll@aspentimes.com

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.

The licensing board granted approval on three conditions: that Milligan gain state approval, update his addresses and pass a fire-safety inspection before the board’s next meeting. Milligan said he anticipates state approval to take anywhere from 90 to 120 days, as its offices are inundated with marijuana applications and filings.

“We run a very tight, clean, compliant ship,” Milligan told the board Tuesday. “It takes an army to do it, but we’re pretty well-versed with Greenwerkz. The people that are involved now working for me have been working with me since 2009 (when the company was founded). They’re pretty well-versed on the system.”

The potential sale would involve a $7.25 million loan from Andrew Levine, a Denver friend who Milligan said he has collaborated with on past real estate transactions. Levin will collect interest on the loan, Milligan said, but it does not include any ownership rights of Green Dragon. Board chairman Bill Murphy asked why a loan is necessary, citing the size of the Greenwerkz operation.

“Andrew is a friend and a lender,” Milligan said. “Obviously, there’s some banking things that we deal with in this industry. We just know each other well, and it’s a good option for me to borrow.”

When Milligan was asked about the current Green Dragon staff, he said that as of now, management will remain the same. Milligan also was asked about cannabis extractions, and he said there are no plans to add that component to the operation. The on-site basement will be used for storage, he said.

herk@aspentimes.com

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.

The purchase price listed in the application is $8 million, which involves a $7.25 million loan from Andrew Levine, of Denver. When asked if the sale is for the entire Green Dragon business and brand, Milligan said Monday that it’s too early to discuss details. Green Dragon currently operates at two locations, with medical and recreational operations in Aspen and Glenwood Springs. The potential deal would require multiple state and local approvals for multiple licenses.

“It’s a little premature to discuss it,” Milligan said. “Public hearing, license applications — all that stuff means I would like to do this, but there’s a lot of channels to go through before you get an approval. I’ve got the public hearing (today), and just kind of got to let things shake out a little bit.”

Green Dragon ownership could not be reached for comment Monday.

According to the application, Greenwerkz is linked to seven recreational operations and nine medical operations throughout Colorado, including a location in Glenwood Springs. The company was founded in 2009.

Green Dragon opened its Aspen location in March 2014. At one point owners were operating two Hyman Avenue shops, with medical separated from recreational. Both operations now cohabitate in a Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall space. Ron Radtke has owned and operated parent company Green Essentials Medical, LLC in Glenwood Springs since January 2013.

herk@aspentimes.com

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

Recreational marijuana has been legal under state law for more than a year. But you can’t sell or legally buy cannabis in much of the state. Seventy-one percent of the state’s 321 jurisdictions ban all medical or retail marijuana dispensaries, according to Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division.

2. 698

There are 698 storefronts you can walk into to buy medical or retail marijuana as of this April 20, more than triple the number Starbucks (216) in the state.

3. $228

In the Denver Metro Area, consumers can expect to pay around $228 dollars for an ounce of pot, according to a survey by the Colorado Pot Guide.

4. $90 million

Canna-business has generated $90 million in taxes, licenses and fees for the state since fiscal year 2013. That’s also almost as much money as Colorado taxpayers should expect next year in refunds ($94 million).

5. 15,992

The cannabis industry has also created new jobs. There were 15,992 people licensed to work in the industry in February 2015. That’s about the same as the number of high school teachers in Colorado.

6. $413,500

Last year the Marijuana Enforcement Division fined pot shops and producers $413,500 for violating regulations, including keeping workers licensed, staying within the legal limit of how much pot they can keep on hand and disposing of cannabis waste properly

7. 800

Then there are medical patients who don’t go to licensed stores, but instead turn to caregivers, legal under Colorado law. Patients must still register with the state and get certified by a doctor. So far about 800 of the state’s 13,400 active physicians have signed medical marijuana cards for 114,290 patients.

8. $15

It costs $15 to obtain a medical marijuana card this year. In 2007, it cost $110.

9. 4.8 million

In the first year of legalization in Colorado, consumers bought 4.8 million units of edible cannabis products, such as cookies or chocolates infused with THC.

10. 148,238

Consumers bought 148,238 pounds of marijuana in Colorado last year — or more than 74 tons. According to our research, that’s heavy — weighing as much as about 24 Chevy Suburbans or eight Tyrannosaurus Rexes.

Sources:

Colorado Department of Revenue, Marijuana Enforcement Division Annual Report (Feb. 27, 2015):https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/2014%20MED%20Annual%20Report_1.pdf

Medical Marijuana Registry Program Update (Feb. 28, 2015): https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/CHED_MMR_StatisticsReport_0215.pdf

Starbucks Investor Relations, Supplemental Financial Data:http://investor.starbucks.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=99518&p=irol-financialhighlights

Kaiser Family Foundation, State Health Facts: http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/total-active-physicians/

Marijuana Enforcement Division’s report on fines, suspensions and revocations of marijuana industry licenses during 2014: http://www.leg.state.co.us/library/reports.nsf/xsp/.ibmmodres/domino/OpenAttachment/library/reports.nsf/E9BF862A3853A743872579DD007B00F6/AttachReport/January%202015report.pdf

Department of Revenue report on Marijuana Taxes, Licenses, and Fees Transfers and Distribution: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/0215%20Marijuana%20Tax%2C%20License%2C%20and%20Fees%20Report.pdf

Study estimating T-Rex weight: http://www.livescience.com/16524-rex-dinosaur-weighed.html

Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates of number of secondary school teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_co.htm#39-0000

Colorado Pot Guide map of counties where marijuana is not allowed: https://www.coloradopotguide.com/where-to-buy-marijuana/

The Summit Daily News brings you this report in partnership with Rocky Mountain PBS I-News. Learn more at rmpbs.org/news. Contact Katie Kuntz at katiekuntz@rmpbs.org.

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.

Aspen hasn’t seen the push back that other Colorado communities have seen since the first recreational dispensaries opened in the state in January 2014. Some towns have put limits on the number of cannabis stores, while others have outlawed them altogether.

Concerns range from marijuana’s long-lasting impacts on children, as well as adults and society, to the potential for more crime and cannabis being a gateway substance to harder drugs.

But the industry marches on in Colorado, in spite of it being a cash-only business. Last week the Huffington Post pointed out, referring to a study done by the cannabis research firm The ArcView Group, that legal marijuana sales totaled $2.7 billion in 2014, up from $1.5 billion in 2013. Recreational pot is legal in four states — Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon. Voters in Washington, D.C., also approved recreational cannabis in the November elections, but sales of the product remain banned in the U.S. capital.

Meanwhile, in Aspen, when Silverpeak Apothecary and Stash opened last March, it could go down as a watershed moment in modern Aspen’s history. Four more dispensaries followed suit. For cannabis users, call it the joy of six. But for those opposed to the budding industry, it’s the opposite.

The Aspen Times Weekly reached out to the proprietors of the half-dozen dispensaries that are peppered throughout the downtown core. Each shop has their own identity, from the products they sell to the staff and interior design. But the looming question is: Is there room for six cannabis shops in Aspen? Or even more?

Shop operators answered those questions and a number of other ones.

Here’s a look at their responses ...

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