County open to changing medical marijuana rules
August 5, 2016
Pitkin County commissioners were receptive Tuesday to changing county regulations to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to sell paraphernalia.
The request to make the change came from Chip Blake, owner of Aspen Roaring Fork Wellness in Basalt, who told commissioners that many of his customers are changing to vaporizers and need some guidance on the best products and how they work.
"About 30 to 40 percent of my clientele is over age 50," said Blake, whose shop is in the Holland Hills Business Center. "I love my little old ladies."
He said he recently sent one customer to a "vape shop" in Glenwood Springs where she paid $80 for the wrong product. She should have paid between $20 and $30 for the product she needed, Blake said.
"It broke my heart," he said. "She got taken advantage of. It makes me mad."
Blake said he wants to be able to "hold their hand" and help his customers choose and operate the ideal product for them.
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Commissioner Rachel Richards said the thinking behind the regulations was concern over marketing T-shirts and hats "about getting high in the Rocky Mountains" to underage consumers.
"We weren't interested in merchandising to young people," Richards said.
Said Commissioner George Newman, "We didn't want (the marijuana dispensaries) to be a 7/11."
Under Pitkin County regulations, both recreational and medical marijuana dispensaries are forbidden from selling paraphernalia. State regulations allow such sales as does the city of Aspen.
Commissioner Patti Clapper suggested changing the rules to allow both recreational and medical shops to sell paraphernalia, though Richards said she preferred to take the issue one at a time.
Richards also suggested putting together a list of acceptable paraphernalia that could be sold, though Clapper said she didn't think a list was necessary.
Clapper and Commissioner Steve Child both indicated they would support changing the rules to allow medical-only dispensaries to sell paraphernalia.
The changes to the rules will likely take several weeks to come to fruition, Richards said.