Colorado Marijuana News

Basalt’s first retail pot store approved, aims for October opening

September 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.

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Basalt-area marijuana greenhouse gets green light

September 25, 2014 — 

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.

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Aspen marijuana store Silverpeak to close for two weeks for remodel

September 4, 2014 — 

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.

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City approves two recreational marijuana licenses for Aspen

September 3, 2014 — 

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.

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Aspen, Pitkin County officials highlight recreational marijuana concerns

August 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.

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Aspen marijuana seller said to be considering Hyman mall

August 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.

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Marijuana council, hospitality industry talk Aspen’s pot issues

August 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.

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Retail pot shop opens in Eagle-Vail

August 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.

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Driving high questioned on busy day in Congress

July 31, 2014 — 

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Driving high questioned on busy day in Congress

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Aspen co-owner of Chronic Lodge hopes to match marijuana users with rentals

July 31, 2014 — 

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.

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Will Front Range marijuana purveyors eye Aspen?

July 30, 2014 — 

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.

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Carroll: Marijuana clubs in Aspen? Yes, we cannabis

July 29, 2014 — 

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.

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Aspen City Council will not extend protection to marijuana shops

July 29, 2014 — 

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.

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Pitkin County marijuana shops question sales restrictions

July 16, 2014 — 

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.

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Marijuana industry mushrooming in Basalt, midvalley

July 18, 2014 — 

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.

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Grand County puts off Highland Lumber rezoning decision

July 15, 2014 — 

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.

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Grand County planning board says no to proposed marijuana grow facility

July 15, 2014 — 

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.

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Marijuana pricing wars heat up in Aspen

July 11, 2014 — 

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.

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Grand County commissioners to hear marijuana permit request

July 14, 2014 — 

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.

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Vail pot moratorium moves forward

July 5, 2014 — 

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.

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Silverthorne Town Council votes to extend hours for retail marijuana shops

June 26, 2014 — 

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.

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Vail bans retail pot another year

June 17, 2014 — 

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.

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Public hearing on retail pot in Vail is Tuesday

June 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.

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Eagle County issues eight retail marijuana licenses

May 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.

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Avon takes moves to ban retail marijuana

April 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.

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Eagle-Vail dispensary to get first marijuana vending machine

April 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.

SIMPLIFYING SALES

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.

UBIQUITOUS EDIBLES

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-op

April 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.

Colorado advances edible marijuana restrictions

April 18, 2014 — 

DENVER — A Colorado proposal to widen a ban on certain types of edible marijuana advanced Thursday in the state House amid concerns that it could be too broad.

What lawmakers are trying to prevent is accidental ingestion by children who can’t tell the difference between a regular cookie or gummy bear and the kinds infused with cannabis. Lawmakers also worry that officials won’t be able to know when students have marijuana at school when the drug is in the form of an edible.

“They’re hard to find, they’re hard to identify, and they’re hard to locate,” said Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, one of the sponsors of the bill, which would prohibit edibles that mimic other foods or candies.

The bill would direct the state Department of Revenue to adopt rules requiring that marijuana edibles be clearly marked or designed to show that they contain pot. The House gave initial OK to the bill Thursday on an unrecorded voice vote. A final vote is expected next week before the Senate takes it up.

Some marijuana activists worry that the bill as written could mean that nothing that looks like food could be infused with marijuana, essentially banning any type of edible pot.

Dan Anglin, a managing partner of edible-maker EdiPure, told lawmakers that he and other companies are giving adults what they want.

“Sweet treats is what people want. Nobody’s infusing steak,” he said.

He said the child-resistant packaging that is already required works. And he noted that without its packaging, some alcohol products also can be confused for non-alcoholic drinks.

Last week during a hearing, McNulty showed lawmakers a tray with various sweets, some containing marijuana and some not, and he asked his colleagues if they could tell the difference. On Thursday, Anglin responded with his own presentation, showing lawmakers several clear plastic bottles with liquids.

“Do you think this is apple juice? This is hard apple juice. That’s liquor at 17 percent. How about this?” he asked. “This is root beer that has alcohol in it. This is lemonade with alcohol in it. Which one of these is water? Can you tell?”

But supporters of the bill say it’s a needed measure to keep pot away from children, now that marijuana is more available since legal recreational sales began in January for those 21 and older.

Smart Colorado, an advocacy group that lobbies to limit youth marijuana use, spoke in support of the bill. Rachel O’Bryan, one of the founding members of the group, told lawmakers that she hopes the bill protects her son so he “can safely accept an offer of a rainbow belt, or a Swedish fish, wherever he may be — at school, at the park, at a friend’s house or even a party.”

Police: Student ate more pot than recommended

April 18, 2014 — 

DENVER — Authorities say a Wyoming college student who jumped to his death from a Denver hotel balcony ate more than the recommended serving of a marijuana cookie.

Police reports released Thursday said 19-year-old Levy Thamba Pongi consumed a little more than one cookie that his friend purchased from a pot shop.

The reports say a clerk told his friends to cut it into six pieces and eat one piece at a time. The friends did so, but it’s unclear from the reports whether Pongi heard the advice.

Pongi’s friends told investigators he began speaking erratically in French and pulling things off walls. Authorities say he then jumped to his death.

An autopsy report from the March 11 incident lists marijuana intoxication as a significant contributing factor in the death.

Medical marijuana ban fails in town of Red Cliff

April 2, 2014 — 

RED CLIFF — Voters here Tuesday retained two town council members and rejected a proposed ban on medical marijuana operations.

Anuschka Bales and Tom Henderson, both current board members, were both elected to four-year terms. But the election still leaves the seven-member board short two people. Town clerk Barb Smith said the town will post the vacancies, with a 30-day period for interested people to apply for the board positions.

With just two people running for four seats, the town might have canceled the spring election, except for a resident-supported ballot measure that would have banned medical marijuana operations. There are no such businesses in town now, and mayor Scott Burgess said there are no pending applications, either.

But the town council last year approved regulations for retail marijuana operations, which prompted a group of town residents to sponsor both the medical marijuana ban ballot measure and a possible fall ballot measure to ban retail operations.

Burgess said the residents couldn’t put both measures on the April municipal election ballot due to language in Amendment 64, the 2012 state constitutional amendment that legalized the possession, growing and retail sale of marijuana for recreation purposes. According to the amendment, communities can only vote to ban retail sales and growing operations in the November general election of even-numbered years.

Town voters in 2012 voted for Amendment 64 by a wide margin — Burgess said roughly 75 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of the measure. Tuesday’s vote against the ban wasn’t that decisive, but the margin of defeat was still in the 60 percent range.

Diana Cisneros, a life-long town resident who helped circulate petitions to put the medical ban on Tuesday’s ballot, said she was disappointed in the outcome.

“I worked long and hard on it,” she said. “I guess other people didn’t agree.”

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