Top

blog

Stories

 

Medical marijuana: Denver names first five licensed dispensaries

marijuana plants under lights-thumb-200x300-thumb-100x150.jpg
Earlier this week at the pseudo-monthly medical marijuana workgroup meeting, officials named the first five fully licensed Denver medical marijuana centers. Verde Wellness Center, Medicine Man, Colorado Alternative Medicine and both iVita Wellness locations got the go-ahead from the city and state. And while some would say Colorado's regulation could lead to federal prosecution, iVita general manager Matt Bencivenga believes the opposite is true for him.

"I don't feel like we have more of a target," he says. "I feel like this is another layer of security. It shows that we are exemplary business as defined by the state. We are striving to be a role model and to be compliant and legal, and we have spent lots of money and lots of time to be one of those dispensaries. Not that it equals a sense of security, but it says the state has backed the industry. I would feel better than some of the [other states] that don't have this."

Colorado's Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division began issuing the first medical marijuana business licenses to dispensaries, grows and infused-product manufacturers around the state in October. So far, only 36 businesses have received licenses, with 29 going to actual centers -- some with grows attached to them and some with separate grow facilities. One marijuana-infused product manufacturer, Dr. Jay's in Denver, has also received the official state okay. The rest of the licenses went to grow facilities tied to other centers.

According to MMED spokeswoman Julie Postlethwait, the division is currently reviewing more than 1,500 applications, and the process is moving along as quickly as possible. The MMED has sent about 600 letters to local authorities for confirmation that the dispensary cited in each letter met city and county requirements and was still in good standing at the time of its application. After the MMED receives confirmation on each from local authorities, compliance officers will go out for a site visit. If everything checks out, the MMED will send a letter to the dispensary, letting owners know how much they owe the state for its license.

Postlethwait said one reason the licensing seems to be going slowly is that local municipalities have been waiting to send back the requested information for all of the dispensaries at once. "Once we start getting those in, you'll start seeing a lot of big moves," she says.

While she feels the MMED is making good progress, Postlethwait also notes that the division is still trying to fill vacant jobs; being short-staffed has prevented it from moving faster.

The other obstacle to licensing has been local bans on medical marijuana businesses. For example, Fort Collins voted to outlaw dispensaries last month; nearly two dozen centers there will soon be shut down. Because of bans, 321 applications are now going through a withdrawal process, Postlethwait explains. That process allows a business to avoid getting a rejection letter and to keep open the possibility of reapplying in the future if a ban is overturned or the business decides to move to another town.

But rejection is also a possibility. The state has already tossed 36 applications so far and Postlethwait says that 133 more are in the denial process right now.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: Mason Tvert hopes AG John Suthers isn't hyping MMJ ban, his office says he's not."


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
13 comments
MMJ Timmy Top
MMJ Timmy Top

This is exciting! I'm so glad that we are at the point that MMJ dispensaries and MMC sites are getting fully backed by the state as legitimate MMJ businesses. So glad to be part of the Colorado MMJ community, the community that continues to be leading the way, pioneering the MMJ industry the way it should be.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

"I don't feel like we have [become] more of a target" -- iVita has been entered on a list, close to the top.  The Feds are now moving against dispensaries within 1000' of a school -- whether they will content themselves with that (until the presidential election) remains to be seen, although Obama would be well-advised to call off the DEA parasites if he wants to win Colorado.  The United States Department of Injustice (DOI) has already made it perfectly plain that it regards Colorado's MMJ businesses as felonious under the Controlled Substances Act (and, of course, it is correct), Benciventa and any number of others' feelings notwithstanding.  Colorado's cannabis retailers made their deal with the Devil two years ago, and while being among the first to be licensed does indicate success at satisfying State bureaucrats, it will also distinguish these businesses from the others when the DOI decides to move against the industry as a whole, as is its clear intention.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

36 rejected and 133 the denial phase is a lot, that's like 25% of applicants rejected! No wonder why business is booming as a caregiver to the point where the price has gone up! Just in time for the HoliDaze!

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

You get excited by spewing that stale, long since debunked industry pablum?  You are too easily excited.  Does the imminent closure of most dispensaries (including iVita) in Denver thrill you to the core?

Tronic
Tronic

133 rejections out of 1,500 total applications is nowhere near 25 percent.

HighCountrys SpiderMites
HighCountrys SpiderMites

Well, at least you admit when you're no different from the dispensaries looking to profit off of sick people.

MMJ Timmy Top
MMJ Timmy Top

Honestly, I agree with the fact that MMJ dispensaries need to be 1000 feet away from schools. And the dispensaries that are in range of those areas, should heed this warning, relocate, and be glad that they had a few months to do so.

It's about the Colorado MMJ industry being legitimately regulated. I am not excited places that have invested a lot of time, money, and effort are going to be uprooted, that sucks! But it's for the benefit of the industry, from my perspective. 

Have you seen the parents that are upset by these dispensaries being so close by their children's schools? I think they may have some validity, and making this regulation quells their argument against the industry, as well as possibly gains support from some of them.

Joeyrockx
Joeyrockx

Who ever heard of making money off medicine! Someone shut Walgreens down!

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

The profit is generally from those who are well and have money and use cannabis to expand their minds.  Let someone else deal with the sick and poor. 

I saw that show Weed Wars on National Geographic last night where the dude had Spider Mites, nasty!  I don't know that mites are much of a problem in the mountains, especially in the winter, I certainly don't have them.  I do know that a solution to spider mites is lady bugs though.  As always, go organic from soil!  Jah Bless!

HotPants
HotPants

Yes, and God forbid that the disabled are on Medicaid and need a prior authorization!  Then the disables get to go through withdrawal while waiting on the government.  Gotta love them drug dealers!  Yes, pharmacies ARE drug dealers!

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

As a matter of fact, the whole 'for profit' and tax model that Colorado has, is doing better than other models in the rest of the country which are 'compassion clubs', or whatever, like in Cali where the Feds are shutting it all down.  Those that lie and say, oh yea we're just not profit are the ones targeted because they're so blatantly full of BS.

When you see the dispensaries with the Rolls and the Benz, that's where you want to beee!

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

Loading...