Colorado Marijuana News
EAGLE COUNTY — Colorado made history when we became the first state to legalize marijuana, but the Colorado Department of Transportation wants you to understand that driving under the influence of anything except good karma is a monumentally bad idea.
That includes the newly legalized marijuana, said Amy Ford, CDOT’s communications director.Learn more »
Hot Sulphur Springs — County officials are working to clear the haze of marijuana confusion before they tamp down their marijuana employee policy.
During their regular public meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 25, the board of county commissioners had Sarah Urfer of ChemaTox Laboratory, Inc. provide some clarification to the murkiness of marijuana use. She provided insight on best testing practices, how to determine impairment and how to develop policy.Learn more »
DENVER — A southern Colorado county with two recreational marijuana stores has become the first in the state to announce tax totals from the new industry.
Pueblo County finance authorities announced Monday that its two shops had about $1 million in total sales in January, producing about $56,000 in local sales taxes.Learn more »
SANTA FE, N.M. — A proposal to allow New Mexico voters to decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana stalled Friday, putting the measure in doubt — for now.
At a disjointed meeting, the Senate Rules Committee failed to debate the proposed constitutional amendment that would allow for the possession and personal use of marijuana for those 21 years of age and older.Learn more »
HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS — County commissioners may have agreed to allow recreational marijuana businesses, but they may prohibit their own employees from partaking.
Current regulations for county employees prohibit working while under the influence of any substance that could cause harm to themselves or others. County commissioners and staff agree this policy should continue, but things become murkier with marijuana’s legalization in the state of Colorado.Learn more »
EAGLE — A Denver-based group has proposed a $5 million marijuana superstore for Eagle.
Rocky Mountain Pure Retail Marijuana would include a 6,000-square-foot retail operation and a 22,500-square-foot indoor cultivation center to support the store. The proposal was submitted in late December and was reviewed by the Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission this week. In a split vote, commission members recommended approval of the proposed operation with a number of conditions. The Eagle Town Board will have the final say regarding the proposal, and the public hearing is planned for Feb. 11.Learn more »
Gov. praises pot banking announcement
DENVER — Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is responding with relief to word from federal officials that marijuana businesses will be allowed to access banking services.Learn more »
FRASER — Grand County residents could soon see the first recreational pot store open its doors in Fraser.
Fraser town trustees passed an emergency ordinance allowing for existing medical marijuana businesses to submit an application to open recreational marijuana stores.Learn more »
EAGLE — A Denver-based group has proposed a $5 million marijuana superstore for Eagle.
Rocky Mountain Pure Retail Marijuana would include a 6,000-square-foot retail operation and a 22,500-square-foot indoor cultivation center to support the store. The proposal was submitted in late December and was reviewed by the Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission this week. In a split vote, commission members recommended approval of the proposed operation with a number of conditions. The Eagle Town Board will have the final say regarding the proposal and the public hearing is planned Feb. 11.Learn more »
EAGLE COUNTY — Local law enforcement wasn’t sure what to expect after Colorado voters legalized pot, but most agencies have been pleasantly surprised a year later.
In November 2012, the passage of Amendment 64 made it legal for people older than 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use. Starting Jan. 1 of this year, the sale of retail marijuana also became legal, with the closest retail shop in Breckenridge.Learn more »
Here’s a rundown of the doobies and don’ts for retail pot purchases.
Who can purchase recreational marijuana?Learn more »
The first greenhouses designated to grow marijuana with county approval broke ground Friday.
Representatives and friends from Silverpeak Apothecary, of Aspen, hosted the official groundbreaking ceremony at its High Valley Farm, located at Holland Hills near Basalt.Learn more »
VAIL — Since the passing of Amendment 64 in 2012, allowing the retail sale of marijuana in Colorado, Vail Resorts has noticed some obvious effects.
Long before pot sales were allowed to begin on Jan. 1, Vail Mountain employees noticed a rash of people openly lighting up on the slopes — including on the chairlifts and on the decks of restaurants. When employees approached smokers to stop, (as it is still illegal to publicly consume marijuana or possess it on U.S. Forest Service land), they were often met with less-than-polite responses and the insistence that marijuana was now legal.Learn more »
All over Aspen, the questions from tourists and locals have been the same.
“Where’s the pot?”Learn more »
Before the retail marijuana movement, Nick Brown, owner of High Country Healing in Silverthorne, said on his busiest days anywhere between 85 and 90 people would visit his medical marijuana dispensary.
Yesterday, the first day for recreational marijuana sales in Colorado, more than 500 people purchased a total of four pounds of marijuana from High Country Healing.Learn more »
DENVER — The second day of the nation’s first fully legal marijuana industry was just a bit less frenzied than the first. Rather than hundred-deep lines outside the limited number of licensed retail shops, the queues held several dozen.
Still, there were so many pot shoppers that one retailer asked customers to come back Friday. Here’s a look at the new normal in Colorado:Learn more »
BRECKENRIDGE — The lines rivaled any seen on Black Friday, but this was no day after Thanksgiving discount deal. Rather, “Green Wednesday,” the first day of recreational marijuana sales in Colorado, brought out visitors and residents alike to legally purchase pot.
Breckenridge Cannabis Club, located downtown on Main Street, opened at 8 a.m. to an exuberant line. Customers high-fived each other as purchases were made, and those still waiting for their turn cheered as others made their way back down the stairs, brown paper bags in hand.Learn more »
On Wednesday, recreational marijuana establishments opened all across Colorado, offering for the first time legal weed to residents and visitors. Shortly after the start of “Green Wednesday” reports began to surface of long lines of people waiting to get their first taste of legal marijuana. It was no different in Summit County.
Nick Brown, owner of High Country Healing in Silverthorne, opened his doors at 10 a.m. By 3:30 p.m. he estimated more than 300 people had been through his shop.Learn more »
Summit County cops report no public marijuana consumption issues on ‘Green Wednesday’January 6, 2014 —
A quiet New Years Eve for Summit County law enforcement officers was followed by an even less eventful New Year’s Day, despite it being “Green Wednesday,” or the first day of legal retail marijuana sales in Colorado.
For law enforcement officers throughout the county the theme was the same — there were no retail marijuana-related incidents reported and by press time not one officer in Summit County had even issued a ticket for public consumption.
Sgt. Mark Heminghous, of the Frisco Police Department, and Officer Bryan Wagner, of the Dillon Police Department, both attributed the quiet holiday to the cold and snowy weather. Summit County Sheriff John Minor said the lack of marijuana-related calls was due to extensive coverage in the media about what is and what isn’t legal.
But Mark Hanschmidt, chief of the Silverthorne Police Department, commended Summit County’s entire law enforcement community for building partnerships with local recreational marijuana establishment owners.
“We worked closely with Nick Brown, the owner of High Country Healing, and put together an information sheet about what is legal,” Hanschmidt said. “He’s attaching that to each package that goes out the door, so whether you are local or from out of state, you’re getting the same information.
“We’re really not having any issues here and I attribute that to the working relationship we have with Nick.”
Although day one appears to have gone off smoothly, Minor said that doesn’t mean the county won’t have issues to address and still unanswered questions to answer in the future. Minor predicts Summit County, like much of the rest of the state, will have a whole gamut of issues to address, including odor complaints, how to regulate pot tourism locally and determine what constitutes private property, where marijuana consumption is legal, versus public property, where it is illegal.
As it stands, the only decision law enforcement officers have made in regards to the public versus private property issue is to allow homeowners to consume marijuana on their deck or in their yard, Minor said.
But county officials will begin to address some of these questions soon, Minor added. He has requested recreational marijuana be on the agenda during the next Summit County Commission meeting. Commission meetings are scheduled for the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month.
Breckenridge retail marijuana shops seeing green as sales soar on first dayJanuary 6, 2014 —
The lines rivaled any Black Friday, but this was no day after Thanksgiving discount deal. Rather, “Green Wednesday,” the first day of recreational marijuana sales in Colorado, brought out visitors and residents alike to legally purchase pot.
Breckenridge Cannabis Club (BCC), located downtown on Main Street, opened at 8 a.m. to an exuberant line. Customers high-fived each other as purchases were made, and those still waiting for their turn cheered as others made their way back down the stairs, brown paper bags in hand.
Co-owners Caitlin McGuire and Brian Rogers were up all night — not celebrating New Year’s Eve, but rather, pre-packaging marijuana with their staff to get ready for the anticipated crowd. A bleary-eyed McGuire said it was her first all-nighter, something she didn’t even pull off in college. But she also said it was well worth the effort, finishing a mere half-hour before doors opened.
“We’re one of the few shops in the state doing a straight conversion,” she said. “So there’s no medical product anymore — we wouldn’t have room to do both, it’s pretty tight quarters.”
Upstairs, two small attic rooms feature identical glass counters and five strains of marijuana on display, some sativa (more of an upper, better for daytime), some indica (used to treat pain, better for sleep). Four cashiers helped one person or group of two at a time as another employee worked on crowd control at the top of the stairs. As customers sniffed and prodded the product, eventually selecting a strain, the shop assistants pulled a black medicine bottle from drawers behind the counter — a pre-packaged gram, the most common amount people were purchasing at $25 before tax. The total price ended up at right around $31. BCC is also offering a discount to Colorado customers.
While McGuire spent a portion of her morning checking IDs at the door, Rogers was trying to coordinate a flurry of media, computer problems and the giant crowd.
“It’s been crazy, but the good kind of crazy,” he said.
The inventory for retail stores had to be converted from old medical marijuana supply, since owners were not allowed to start growing for recreational marijuana until Jan. 1. As the line slowly shuffled past her seat at the open door, a chilly McGuire said while they had more product available, it wasn’t ready and packaged, so she was unsure how the supply would hold up until closing at 10 p.m.
“I wasn’t worried, I thought we were well-stocked, but now I don’t know,” she said, checking an ID from Florida.
Most out-of-state license holders were already in the area for vacations or skiing, and McGuire said she saw more Coloradans than she expected. A pair from Boulder lamented in line over how they couldn’t yet get any legal retail product in Boulder of all places.
A crunchy white chocolate bar with blueberry was the recommendation of choice from assistant manager Lauren Hoover, ringing up at $18 before tax. Hoover said the store made more money in the first hours of Jan. 1 sales than they had in the last few months of just selling medical marijuana.
While the line grew outside, in temperatures approaching the teens but feeling more like zero, many in the crowd said they didn’t mind the wait.
“I’ve been waiting in line about 20 minutes, but that’s nothing compared to waiting like 30 years for this to happen,” one woman from California said.
Besides the marijuana itself, customers could also purchase an array of marijuana edibles, such as truffles, mints, soda and fruit chews. A few had to be turned away as well: a man who had expired documents, another who only had a temporary license with no photo.
The big seller of the day at BCC was the Snow Cap sativa. Customers spent anywhere from $30 up to $300, with the average customer grabbing a gram or two of marijuana and an edible or two as well. All purchases were in cash, since it’s difficult for marijuana stores to get bank accounts because of federal regulations. The BCC wasn’t able to keep their bank account after it was found out they weren’t simply a gift shop, Hoover said.
“Oh man, it’s about to get so weird,” one customer from Austin told his friend as they left with two full paper bags. Hoover reminded people to take it slow, since the high altitude can also have an effect.
The phone rang non-stop, a shrill sound piercing over the winding line and the documentary film crew struggling for space. Most callers wanted to know what time the shop would be open until.
At Alpenglow Botanicals up on Airport Road north of town, there was less of a line, but still a steady stream of interested parties throughout the day. The shop, roomier and on the ground floor, offered many more pipes and varieties of strains for sale than BCC, and still offered medical marijuana as well — separate from the retail product. An ATM offered convenience for customers, since purchases needed to also be in cash.
Owner Charlie Williams said he had no idea what to expect when he opened at 9 a.m. Alpenglow beat its best medical sales day in the first hour of retail sales.
“After the first day or two, we might lose some of the people who are just buying today because they can,” he said. “But we’re also a resort community, and we get people in from all around the country all the time.”
A group of students from the University of Illinois made the long road trip to ski over winter break, but timed their vacation in order to be here for Jan. 1.
“It’s crazy we can do this,” one friend said as he handed over his cash to make his purchase. “I can’t believe we’re here right now.”
At Alpenglow, 1 gram sold for $18 pre-tax, with 1/8 ounce retailing for $45. Relative to a normal day, Williams said, if sales remained steady, Jan. 1 would probably bring in three or four times the amount of a regular day. Williams is concerned, however, about all of the cash he’s taking in.
“Someone is going to do something stupid, and I don’t want to die doing this,” he said.
The sale price of the retail product is higher than medical, but Williams said he is still ironing out the details.
“We don’t want to be greedy, but we have to match the price to the supply and demand,” he said.
By 3 p.m., the line at BCC had reached the end of the block, even outmatching the line across the street at Starbucks on a cold New Year’s Day. More and more employees lost out on the bet they made about how much money they would make in sales that day. Everyone guessed under, though Hoover was closest.
As the day came to a close, McGuire confirmed they had more than 500 people make purchases by around 8 p.m., though many more had walked through the door. Her sales in this one day equaled way more than an average month of regular business, she said.
“We’ve been playing catch-up all day,” she said. “We’ve been constantly packaging and labeling grams during the day to get them into the rooms. For my business’ sake, I’d love for it to be just as busy tomorrow, but for my own personal sanity I’d love a break.”
Even tourists and locals not in line stopped to take pictures of the group filling up the Main Street sidewalk, some posing for pictures in front of the crowd or the BCC sign. Friends from Georgia waited to become part of the monumental day, something they wouldn’t be able to experience deep in the Bible belt. Scott, who only wanted to be identified by his first name, said he was very excited about the possibilities that awaited him at the top of the staircase.
“This is something to tell your grandchildren about,” he said. “The wait, the weather, it’s whatever. This is a historic day.”
Iraq war vet among first buyers as recreational pot industry opens in ColoradoJanuary 6, 2014 —
DENVER — The nation’s first recreational pot industry opened in Colorado on Wednesday, kicking off an experiment that will be followed closely around the world and one that activists hope will prove that legalization is a better alternative than the costly American-led drug war.
Business owners who threw their doors open for shoppers at 8 a.m. are looking for the fledgling industry to generate as much revenue as state officials hope it will. At least 24 pot shops in eight towns opened, after increasing staff and inventory and hiring security.
More than a dozen people waiting in line outside one shop in Denver, as snow fell around dawn. Musician James Aaron Ramsey, 28, was among them, having driven from Missouri. He played folk tunes with his guitar as he waited.
“I’m going to frame the receipt when I go home, to remind myself of what might be possible. Legal everywhere,” Ramsey said, who had served a brief jail sentence for pot possession less than a year ago and was excited to legally buy weed.
Colorado and Washington state approved legal recreational pot industries in 2012, and Washington’s will open later this year. They are being closely watched around the world because they are the first regulated, taxed pot industries.
Some countries have decriminalized the drug, and the Netherlands lets people buy and sell it, but it’s illegal to grow or process it.
Just as shops opened Wednesday, the Denver police department tweeted, “Do you know the law?” and linked to city websites on state and local laws that include bans on public consumption, driving under the influence, taking marijuana out of state and giving pot to anyone under 21.
Shopper Jacob Elliott traveled from Leesburg, Va., to be among the first to buy legal pot. He said he wrote reports in college about the need to end prohibition of marijuana, but never thought it could happen in his lifetime.
“This breaks that barrier,” he said.
Tinted windows on a black limousine idling outside a dispensary showed another side of the newly legal weed market — people eager to try legal marijuana, but not ready to be seen publicly buying it.
Addison Morris, owner of Rocky Mountain Mile High Tours, had 10 clients waiting inside who paid $295 for three hours of chauffeuring by a “marijuana concierge” who would help them choose strains and edible pot products.
“We’re your grandmother’s pot connection,” the 63-year-old said. “We’re not the hippie stoners who are going to stand in this cold and party.”
Morris said she’s booked through the end of February with out-of-state clients. Guests receive samples in designer bags before getting tours. She said she’s selling discretion. Guests are asked to leave cameras at home.
Earlier, pot users welcomed the new year — and the new industry — by firing up bongs and cheering in a cloud of marijuana smoke at a 1920s-themed “Prohibition Is Over” party in downtown Denver.
Skeptics worry the industry will make the drug more widely available to teens, even though legal sales are limited to adults over 21. They fear that the increased availability will lead to a rise in drug abuse and crime.
Preparation for the retail market started more than a year ago, soon after Colorado voters in 2012 approved the legal pot industry. Washington state has its own version, which is scheduled to open in mid-2014. Uruguay passed a law in December to become the first nation to regulate pot.
Pot advocates, who had long pushed legalization as an alternative to the lengthy and costly global drug war, had argued it would generate revenue for state coffers and save money in locking up drug offenders.
Still, setting up regulations, taxation and oversight for a drug that’s never been regulated before took some time.
Colorado set up an elaborate plant-tracking system to try to keep the drug away from the black market, and regulators set up packaging, labeling and testing requirements, along with potency limits for edible pot.
The U.S. Justice Department outlined an eight-point slate of priorities for pot regulation, requiring states to keep the drug away from minors, criminal cartels, federal property and other states in order to avoid a federal crackdown. Pot is still illegal under federal law.
Police in the eight Colorado towns allowing recreational pot sales stepped up patrols to dispensaries in case of unruly crowds. Denver International Airport placed signs on doors warning fliers they can’t take the drug home in their suitcases.
With the additional police patrols, the airport warnings and various other measures, officials hoped they have enough safeguards in place to avoid predictions of public health and safety harm from the opening of the pot shops.
They are aware of how many people, from across the country and around the world, were watching. “We understand that Colorado is under a microscope,” Jack Finlaw, lawyer to Gov. John Hickenlooper and overseer of a major task force to chart new pot laws, recently told reporters.
There was no shortage of skeptics worried retail pot would endanger the public. A group of addiction counselors and physicians said they’re seeing more marijuana addiction problems, especially in youths, and that wider pot availability will exacerbate the problem.
“This is just throwing gas on the fire,” said Ben Cort of the Colorado Center for Dependency, Addiction & Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado Hospital.
Not all marijuana users in Colorado are toasting the dawn of retail sales.
Some medical marijuana patients groups say they’re worried about supply. That’s because the retail inventory for recreational use is coming entirely from the preexisting medical inventory. Many in the industry warned patients to stock up before the sales began.
It was too soon to tell whether prices were going up.
For now, medical patients should have plenty of places to shop. Most of Colorado’s 500 or so medical marijuana shops haven’t applied to sell recreational pot, and many that have plan to serve both recreational and medical patients
Marijuana activists were hoping Colorado’s grand experiment wouldn’t be that noticeable after an initial rush of shopping.
“Adults have been buying marijuana around this country for years,” said Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project. “The only difference is that in Colorado they will now buy it from legitimate businesses instead of the underground market.”