Medical Marijuana Centers finally getting approval from the state, with 5 licensed so far

The Colorado Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division finally began licensing medical marijuana centers around the state this week. And while some activists say the licensing will likely bring more federal attention to Colorado dispensaries, several center owners say they feel more protected now, not less.

According to Julie Postlethwait, MMED spokeswoman, the department has approved five centers for Medical Marijuana business licenses across the state: Choice Organics and Colorado Kind Care in Larimer County, Briargate Wellness in Colorado Springs, and the Genetic Locker and Boulder MM Dispensary, both in Boulder.

Joe DiFabio, owner of Briargate Wellness, says the year-long licensing process was trying at times, but he's happy to have jumped the final hurdle: "They are still learning their system and putting things in place. The way I see it, the application fee paid for more than year's worth of business so far." Though he hasn't received the actual license yet, the state has accepted his check and told him he should be seeing it in the mail soon.

DiFabio adds that the license gives him a bit more peace of mind in light of the recent grandstanding by federal prosecutors over medical marijuana in California. "We are so much different from Cali it is unbelievable. They aren't state licensed, they are all supposed to be nonprofit, and it goes on. Compliance has been our goal since we opened. I started this to create jobs and make a living. The last thing I want to do is end up in jail."

Proponents of the regulations have said that one reason the MMED regulatory system has kept the feds out is because it prevents large-scale, untracked grows from being shipped out of state. This is a big problem in California, where such operations have produced tons of untracked surplus ganja that is shipped to the East Coast for nearly double what it would sell for back home.

Critics of the system, for their part, say the entire MMED has been set up to provide a huge case against the industry to federal prosecutors.

Up north at Choice Organics outside of Fort Collins, owner Erica Freeman puts things more bluntly: "I do believe that it's what is keeping the feds from Colorado is the excessive regulation, and I don't mean that in a bad way. This is what we want and this is what [the feds] want."

Freeman says she feels more at ease now knowing her shop has been vetted by the state. Like DiFabio, she hasn't received her actual license in the mail yet -- but she notes that the MMED has cashed her check. She expects to have the license in hand and hanging on her wall in the next few days.

Even if the feds were to come into Colorado, she says, the regulations have created much larger targets operating outside of existing state laws. "I feel great that the MMED has been here and deemed it eligible. Their final approval is that safety net."

More from our marijuana archives: "Medical Marijuana Industry Group decries feds' Cali crackdown, touts Colorado regs"; "Medical marijuana: Full Spectrum Labs shutting doors until state license is issued"


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11 comments
Phishphan30
Phishphan30

Colorado Kind Care is dba The Village Green Society and they are located in Boulder, CO

Rev. B Baker
Rev. B Baker

WTF kind of reporting is this? how in the hell can you say they are licensed then clearly state its still in the mail? IT HAS BEEN IN THE MAIL SINCE EVERY DISPENSARY APPLIED and  DIDNT GET A DENIAL OF APPLICATION? by legal contract terms every place that applied and wasnt denied as soon as they got the "certificate of application on file" they had consideration to seal the deal on licensing

Monkey
Monkey

Positive thinking or denial? Good thing banks wont do business with you because all your accounts will be seized. Long beach CA was just found guilty of breaking Federal Law doing the same thing Colorado is doing. Licensing and regulating marijuana offered NO protection to dispensaries, it only made things worse. Now the DOJ says one of their first targets will be marijuana businesses that are involved with a marijuana licensing scheme that is inconsistent with Federal Law. Good luck guys, I hope it's not as bad as I think, here's the Haag video.http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44...

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

We live in interesting times.  Proponents of the General Assembly's marijuana distribution scheme have exactly two facts on which to pin their hopes:  Colorado has an elaborated system of regulation of dispensaries and Obama wants to win Colorado again.  Between the two, it may be that the Feds will not react immeidately when Colorado licenses the large-scale cultivation and sale of cannabis, but if I were an applicant, I would not want to be among the first licensees.  Obama may even think that he can move against medical cannabis in Colorado while he campaigns here based on what our State's Establishment has been hawking to anyone who will listen -- that there is a reactionary movement against cannabis that supports the unconstitutional laws and regulations purporting to restrict patients' constitutional rights.  Help me tell the President that unless he reverses course on cannabis, he can kiss off Colorado!

Robert ChaseColoado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers(720) 213-6497

P.S.  Come down to Lincoln Park tonight (before 11pm) to show your solidarity for Occupy Denver -- fire it up!

anonymouse
anonymouse

Who is getting COMMC License #0001?

Jay
Jay

Do you or anyone at the 'Word have any comment on this?http://californiawatch.org/dai...

Seems apparent that you guys get quite a bit of ad revenue from marijuana-related industries, but I haven't seen anything like this here in Colorado.

Yet.

BMMD
BMMD

The State (DOR MMJ Division) sent out a letter saying that their application and all the hoops, info and inspections that go with that were to their satisfaction and that the businesses had 30 days from the date of the letter to send the State $6500 (+ additional $ if there was a MIP) for the 'official' license. 

William Breathes
William Breathes

Well, if you call the MMED right now they will tell you that these five centers have been licensed and that more are on the way. They are not the same as every other center that has applied and not received a denial.

Maybe my reporting beat the US postal service in delivering an actual piece of paper, I don't know (and the MMC owners were wondering as well).  But regardless, the MMED officials said they were licensed and all the stores I spoke with confirmed as much.

Matt in Boulder
Matt in Boulder

Even if the feds were to come into Colorado, she says, the regulations have created much larger targets operating outside of existing state laws. "I feel great that the MMED has been here and deemed it eligible. Their final approval is that safety net."

I'm sure the folks who signed up for the zip tie program in Mendo felt the same way....

William Breathes
William Breathes

Well, I don't take ad revenue, sell ads or really even give two shits about who advertises with our paper. That said, my belief is that it's their right to advertise for a state-legal product in a Colorado-based publication. They are no different than the bars, clubs, stores, resorts an anything else that advertises in our paper to me. But that's about the extent of my knowledge and caring on the issue.

But I am in no way the person to listen to on this. I'm merely a part-time writer for a paper whose editors likely have much more to say (and can say it much more eloquently) than I do. If history tells us anything, it's that newspapers tend to not like being told what they can and can't run.

In the meantime, our friend Steve Elliot over at Toke of the Town has summed up the issue pretty well: http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2...

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