First Colorado Pot Shops Open Next Week



Yesterday the Colorado Department of Revenue mailed its first batch of licenses to businesses that plan to produce, test, and sell marijuana products for general use. The licensees include 136 retailers, all of which currently operate medical marijuana centers (the only businesses allowed to apply for licenses at this point); 178 cultivation sites, most of them linked to pot shops (which initially have to grow at least 70 percent of their inventory); 31 manufacturers of marijuana-infused products; and three testing facilities. The state seems to have approved every application it has received so far. The stores are allowed to open as soon as January 1 (a week from tomorrow), provided they have received approval from the local jurisdictions in which they operate.

The first pot store to receive a local license was Annie's in Central City, part of the Strainwise chain, so it will be among the stores authorized to open on New Year's Day. The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that Michael Stetler, owner of Marisol Therapeutics in Pueblo, also expects to have a local license by then. The Gazette says "Stetler has big plans for opening week, anticipating a rush of patrons from nearby counties and cities that have banned recreational sales, including Colorado Springs [the state's second biggest city] and El Paso County."

Three-fourths of the pot stores that have been granted state licenses are located in Denver, Colorado's capital and largest city, but it is not clear how many will be locally licensed and ready to open next week. The Denver Post reports that only eight Denver pot shops "have so far cleared all the hurdles in the local licensing process."

Leaders of the campaign for Amendment 64, Colorado's legalization initiative, say the first sale by a newly licensed pot store will happen at 8 a.m. on New Year's Day at "a Denver marijuana retail store that includes an on-site marijuana cultivation facility." The specific location has not been announced yet. The first buyer will be Sean Azzariti, "a U.S. Marine Corps veteran in Denver who can now legally use marijuana to alleviate the symptoms of post-traumatic disorder," a condition that was not covered by Colorado's medical marijuana law.

Although Azzariti appeared in an ad for Amendment 64, he is hardly typical of the new marijuana market, which will be driven by recreational users. As of next week, anyone 21 or older will be allowed to buy up to an ounce of marijuana at a time (a quarter of an ounce for visitors, in case you were wondering). But since cultivation for recreational use won't be allowed until January 1, and it takes about five months to grow a new crop, where will the pot for these new customers come from? Until next spring, it looks like the only legal source will be repurposed medical marijuana.

A medical marijuana center is allowed to grow up to six plants for each patient who names it as his designated provider. But that does not mean every patient consumes that much marijuana. Wiggle room was built into this system, since patients do not have to buy exclusively from their designated providers and dispensaries may sell as much as 30 percent of their marijuana to other outlets. Any dispensary interested in the recreational market has had more than a year since Amendment 64 was approved to maximize production under the existing quotas.

Will that be enough? Maybe not. Norton Arbelaez, co-owner of RiverRock Wellness dispensaries in Denver, told the Post he does not plan to start serving the recreational market until February. "There are just so many questions in terms of pricing, is there going to be scarcity, or some kind of lack of product in January that is going to lead to the price of the product doubling or tripling?" he said. "There's a lot of unknowns."

Another Denver dispensary owner, Ralph Morgan, told the Gazette he and his partner, Tim Cullen, plan to open next week, assuming they have their local license by then. But they are not planning to make a big deal out of it. "We're not inviting media," Morgan said. "We're not blasting things out on social media….A lot of it has to do with our supply chain, because we're mandated to grow 70 percent of what we sell…If our business were to double we would run out. We would have to close midmonth, and we're not unique in that. Everyone is in that same boat."

If the shops run out or the prices prove prohibitive, there is another option for those who planned ahead or have friends who did. Since Amendment 64 took effect in December. Coloradans have been allowed to grow up six plants at home and share the produce with others, up to an ounce at a time, as long they do not make any money from the hobby.

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  1. Just wait a couple of weeks until reefer crazed zombies have taken over the streets of CO cities and are terrorizing innocent children and wiminz folk.

    THAT is your Colorado on POT. Any questions?

    Maybe then we can come to our senses and realize that the WOD must continue, indefinitely, for the children… especially the poor children of our noble DEA agents, who need to eat.

    1. I think the pearl clutchers will be more offended by the pot signage on main street then anything else. something will surely have to be done about that flashing neon pot leaf sign on the corner.

  2. “Look what Santa got for you, honey!”

    “A bowl of Jamaica Gold! Wow, Daddy, you’re the greatest!”

    “Merry Christmas, pumpkin!”

    1. Cut to three years later…

      “I can’t find the vein, honey.”

      “Well fuck it! Let’s just snort it then. Is this shit any good?”

      “We gotta’ clean up, pumpkin.”

      1. When you can’t find it in the vein, you just jam it into the muscle before the blood in the needle coagulates and clogs it up. Of course, heroin is somewhat caustic and this will result in football-shaped lesions, but hey, it’s better than getting no fix at all.

  3. This reminds me, I need to call my dealer as I’m getting a little low on one of my strains.

  4. OT, but it’s a Festivus Miracle: Sadbeard says something that’s not (entirely) stupid

    Of course there are significant public safety concerns about people driving vans. But the concerns are essentially the same whether it’s a delivery van or a dollar van. You need rules about what’s an acceptible vehicle, who’s an acceptable driver, and what’s an acceptable way to pilot the vehicle.

    But you don’t need rules that specifically discriminate against rides for hire. The right way to think about this panoply of rules is that it’s all part of a regulatory structure designed to make single passenger automobile traffic and one-car-per-adult the normative American lifestyles. Anything you want to do around driving yourself is presumptively legal, and anything you want to do around hiring someone else to drive you is presumptively illegal. That’s a worldview that’s bad for the environment, bad for cities, bad for the poor, bad for many classes of physically impaired people, and all-in-all bad for America. But by all means, regulate cars-for-hire. Just regulate them the same way you regulate the other cars.

    Of course he still manages to sound stupid by over-stressing the need to make general driving regulations stricter, but at least he recognizes that cab cartels and corrupt licensing schemes are bad for everyone.

    1. You need rules about what’s an acceptible vehicle, who’s an acceptable driver, and what’s an acceptable way to pilot the vehicle

      [citation needed]

      1. You’ve got people cruising around cities in medium-sized metal boxes capable of traveling at high speeds and powered by burning gasoline. Left unregulated, these vehicles would poison the air and crush huge numbers of innocent pedestrians. Which is why it’s good that the federal government regulates what kind of autombiles are considered safe to drive, regulates what kind of vehicle emissions are acceptable, and it’s why state and local governments regulate both who is allowed to drive cars (driver’s licenses), under what circumstances (drunk driving laws), and of course what you’re allowed to do with a vehicle (road rules). These are important things for the government to do. And in fact if I was dictator of America, most of these rules would be stricter. Penalties for drunk driving and other moving violations should be much stricter, fewer teenagers and vision-impaired old people would be licensed to drive, gasoline taxes would be higher, etc.

        Even when his general point is correct he can’t help himself.

        1. At the heart of every lover of the state, of regulation, or of rules, lies a petty repulsive tyrant who knows exactly how they would order things if they just had all the power. Their delusion that somehow they know exactly how to order the entire world is breathtaking in its arrogance and stupidity. Delusions of grandeur is too mild a term. God complex is closer.

        2. …”state and local governments regulate both who is allowed to drive cars (driver’s licenses), under what circumstances (drunk driving laws), and of course what you’re allowed to do with a vehicle (road rules). These are important things for the government to do.”…

          Yeah, why without that people might drive the way they do in shopping center parking lots!

      2. Epi, we have rules about those things, so it follows that we need rules about them.

        1. “You’re being rude to me. Don’t chain me down with your manners.”

  5. The pot shops haven’t even opened and Jake is already too stoned to remember the alt-text.

    1. Reason needs to blow all their donor drive money to do a full team coverage on them shops opening up.

  6. The pot shop is named Annie Oakley? So do they sell guns and weed there?

  7. …anticipating a rush of patrons from nearby counties and cities that have banned recreational sales, including Colorado Springs [the state’s second biggest city] and El Paso County.

    Interested parties will come from as far away as Washington D.C., and those are expected to be literally breaking down the doors to get in.

    1. And keep your dogs out of sight!

  8. Silicon Valley to secede, splitting California into six states:…..nitiative/

    1. How about we sell the whole state to China.

    2. How about we sell the whole state to China.

      1. Sounded better the first time

  9. Salon names its top 5 worst political villains of 2013

    Since progressives are champions of civil liberties it must surely follow that Barack Obama and Dianne Feinstein earned at least one spot on this list for their abhorrent positions on the NSA. Right?


    2. View Slideshow

      No thanks. It was bad enough that I actually visited one of your pages, Salon.

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