Carbondale pot dispensary celebrates first week
July 17, 2009
CARBONDALE – Dustin’s medical marijuana license, obtained five months ago with authorization from a Denver doctor to help relieve the painful symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), used to require frequent trips back and forth to Denver to obtain his legal 2 ounces.
That’s the most a licensed patient is allowed under Colorado’s medical marijuana law to possess at a given time. And the length of time it can take to go through that amount varies depending on the individual patient and the particular condition or illness they are medicating.
“Denver was the only place I was able to acquire quality medicine,” said Dustin, who has lived in the Roaring Fork Valley for three years. He asked that his last name not be used for confidentiality reasons.
“So, it’s nice to have some quality medicine available to be legally dispensed here in the valley,” he said of the recent opening of Colorado Mountain Dispensary (C.M.D.) in Carbondale.
Better yet, C.M.D. offers a delivery service, “so they’re able to come to you,” Dustin said.
“Not many of the dispensaries I visited before had that much to offer,” he said. “These guys have better products and are real business people.”
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Since opening the medical marijuana outlet in a slightly off-the-beaten-path commercial plaza just off Highway 133 one week ago, C.M.D. proprietor Joey Jones said he has helped more than 30 patient clients obtain marijuana.
A Carbondale sales tax licensed is pinned to the cabinet behind the counter, and everything appears to be legitimate in accordance with the state law.
“So far everybody has been happy with what we’re able to do,” said Jones, who runs the dispensary with his girlfriend, Tamara, with help from a handful of assistants.
“We’re trying not to have walk-ins yet,” Jones said earlier this week in an interview at the dispensary, as he and helper Scott VanderLugt unpacked a medium-sized box containing four marijuana plants and a plastic bag of marijuana buds, which were distributed among five jars of various sizes.
Jones is in the process of installing a security system, and prefers to keep the location between himself and established clients for now.
“We’re asking people to call ahead and arrange an appointment,” he said.
But they are more than happy to talk over the phone with people about what it is they’re doing, how the law works, and to assist those who think they may qualify for medical marijuana.
“We can help people in getting a license,” Jones said. “I’ve probably helped at least 40 people get licenses in the last two weeks.”
Tamara, who also did not want her last name used, said that at least two medical doctors in the Roaring Fork Valley are now willing to license medical marijuana patients.
“We are also available for any questions the community may have concerning local doctors that are ready to sign referrals and/or the procedure for obtaining referrals,” she said. “The number of people in the valley who are getting cards is increasing exponentially.”
Medical marijuana became legal in Colorado after state voters passed Amendment 20 in 2000, authorizing individuals to use marijuana to lessen the debilitating symptoms of certain illnesses and medical conditions.
The law permits an authorized patient who obtains a license through a licensed medical doctor to possess up to 2 ounces of “a usable form of marijuana” or “no more than six marijuana plants, with three or fewer being mature, flowering plants that are producing a usable form of marijuana,” according to the amendment. Licenses must be renewed annually.
The law also allows for dispensaries such as C.M.D. under the general classification of “care-giver.”
“The state likes me, because I’m paying taxes on everything I do,” Jones said. “We follow the rules strictly.”
In addition to selling marijuana in a variety of forms, from the more traditional smokable form to a variety of edible forms, C.M.D. also sells accessories such as vaporizers and other products.
“Most people are buying the traditional, smokable product,” Tamara said. “But we really suggest vaporizing it or using it in an edible form.”
Vaporizing burns the marijuana without touching flame to it, avoiding some of the negative aspects of smoking.
“Edibles really work good for pain and to help people sleep,” Tamara said.
Because the symptoms of IBS typically involve serious stomach pains and cramping, and result in a lack of appetite, Dustin said he prefers the vaporizing method.
“Any type of smoking is not recommended by any doctor, because it is a carcinogen,” he said. “I’m not too keen on eating it, just because of my particular condition, but eating is the preferred method.”
With a combination of dietary changes and use of medical marijuana to alleviate the symptoms, Dustin hopes to control his IBS. Whether he would be able to renew his license after a year will be up to his doctor, he said.
Meanwhile, Jones said he welcomes the state’s process to establish a set of rules to regulate the medical marijuana industry, for which the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will have a hearing in Denver on Monday.
“It is the beginning of being able to regulate things better,” he said.
Jones plans to be at the hearing to offer comments on the proposed rules, one of which would limit the number of patients a care-giver can have to five. Jones said he would like to see that particular rule relaxed. But even if it does stand, he’s not too concerned.
“We can make it work,” he said, adding that a care-giver is identified as an individual, not the dispensary itself. “You can always just split the clients up between different care-givers that would be working with us.”
C.M.D. is the first of several dispensaries that are expected to open in the Roaring Fork Valley and throughout the Western Slope in the coming months as the rules become more clear.
For more information on the proposed rules and Monday’s hearing, visit http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hs/Medicalmarijuana.
To find out more about C.M.D., call (970) 306-3231, or e-mail Cmdcarbondale@yahoo.com