Carbondale shop set to dispense medical marijuana
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
CARBONDALE, Colorado – A local man plans to open shop in Carbondale next month for what he believes will be the Roaring Fork Valley’s first dispensary for medical marijuana.
Joey Jones, a Carbondale-area resident for three years who has worked as a personal trainer locally for two years, said Monday that he has secured a location near Highway 133 in Carbondale to serve as the outlet for Colorado Mountain Dispensary. He declined to disclose the location, preferring to work directly with clients.
He is gearing up to advertise locally and regionally to develop a group of patient clients who have obtained the legal permit for a specific medical reason under Colorado’s Amendment 20 to purchase and possess up to 2 ounces of “a usable form of marijuana.”
That can be in a form that is smoked or in a variety of edible forms, Jones said.
“There are alternative ways to medicate that avoid the dangers associated with smoking,” he said. That includes a THC butter that can be used for baking, as well as capsules and drops containing THC, the active ingredient in the marijuana plant.
“We are excited to provide the valley with quality medicine without the hassle of driving all the way to Denver,” Jones said. “We will also be offering a discreet delivery service, from Aspen to Vail, and up to Grand Junction, effective immediately.”
Jones, 24, a patient himself, was diagnosed a year-and-a-half ago with a degenerative disc in his back. Doctors initially prescribed pain pills, but Jones sought out the alternative of using marijuana after learning that it is legal for medical use in Colorado.
“We’re not trying to go around and get people to smoke pot,” he said. “Part of our mission is to educate people that this is a much healthier and safer alternative to prescription pain medication.”
Colorado voters in 2000 passed Amendment 20 to the state constitution. It authorizes individuals to use marijuana to lessen the debilitating symptoms of certain illnesses and medical conditions.
The law permits an authorized patient 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.
The law also allows for dispensaries such as the one Jones intends to operate, under the general classification of caregiver. There are several operating around Colorado, including in Grand Junction. Aspen attorney Lauren Maytin told The Aspen Times in April that she was working with a group of clients who wanted to open a dispensary there. She could not be reached Monday for comment on whether that venture came to fruition.
Jones said even if the Carbondale outlet is the valley’s first dispensary, it’s probably only a matter of time before others come along.
“If there’s not a need here now, there will be very, very soon, so I’m not concerned about it being successful,” he said.
As of May 31, there were 71 people in Garfield County with medical marijuana permits, 32 in Pitkin County, and 66 in Eagle County, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Statewide, 7,630 people have active, valid medical marijuana permits.
Jones said he is not aware of any medical doctors locally who have signed for patients to obtain medical marijuana, but that also may change.
“If a doctor sees the potential for medical marijuana to work for a patient, we want to be able to work with them,” he said.
Jones said he and his girlfriend, who is assisting with the new venture, are organizing an education campaign and plan to have a presence of some sort at the Carbondale Fourth of July celebration.
“We want to get the word out about medical marijuana and what it’s all about,” he said.
Jones acknowledged there will be some self-policing involved to make sure patients aren’t abusing the service.
“If someone purchases 2 ounces and then comes back the next day for another 2 ounces, obviously something is up,” he said. “We care about our patients, and we don’t want them to do anything illegal.”
Jones said he is “outsourcing” for the marijuana he will need for his operation, and is working with a grower who will be growing specifically for dispensary patients.
Carbondale police chief Gene Schilling said he does not have a problem with Jones’ operation, “as long as he follows the rules.”
Marijuana possession and distribution above the limit spelled out in Amendment 20, and without the proper permitting for patients and dispensers, remains illegal in Colorado, as well as under federal law, causing some problems when it comes to local enforcement.
Jones said he plans to have the storefront up and running by mid-July. For more information about the dispendsary, call (970) 306-3231.
The Vail Valley’s real estate market has long been an unusual one, with very expensive sales accounting for a large share of the market’s dollar volume. That means a few sales can have a large impact on volume.