The Denver Post
By all appearances, the people lined up at the handsome oak counter with frosted-glass dividers could be in a quiet suburban post office.
Clerks with scales are answering customers' questions; credit cards are being swiped.
But look closer at the merchandise and the brand names emblazoned on the glass display jars: AK-47, Flying Monkey, Purple Haze, Jack Flash, Kali Mist.
The shop is Patients Choice at 2251 S. Broadway. It is one of dozens of medical-marijuana dispensaries that have sprouted in metro Denver since Colorado legalized the use of pot by patients who hold doctor-approved state permits.
Cannabis clinics are providing relief for clients and serious profits for caregivers, the people authorized by the state to distribute marijuana to patients. Green isn't just the color of the high-end pot that can sell for $350 an ounce. The scent of money in the air is as strong as the herb.
"We're here for the long haul, not to fill our pockets and run," said Jim Bent, co-owner of Patients Choice. "We want to make this a sustainable business."
State and city governments likely will have something to say about that. Colorado legislators have announced plans to more tightly regulate the budding businesses. Court rulings are already tightening the rules for selling legal weed.
While dispensers anticipate stiffer laws — even in the wake of the federal government banning the prosecution of medical-marijuana users — the shops are thriving. And despite the media swirl and pot's longtime status as cultural and legal whipping boy, business at the dispensaries is mellow.
A Wii set-up and bongs
Colin Gordon co-owns Nature's Kiss at 4332 S. Broadway in Englewood. His shop, in a former feed store, has a smoking area that would be at home in a frat house: It has sofas, a piano, a pool table, a big-screen TV with Wii hookup, and bongs. A juice bar is in the works.
Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.
If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.
Friday, October 30, 2009
The Denver Post