Saturday, December 28, 2013

Retail marijuana almost here

(Telluride News) No one knows how many people will queue up to buy retail marijuana when it becomes available across Colorado on Wednesday, but one thing is certain: Telluride’s shops will be open for business.

All three of the town’s marijuana dispensaries plan to open their doors to those 21 and older on Wednesday (Jan. 1) for retail sales, and are bracing for big crowds. It will be the first time in history that fully taxed and regulated marijuana will be available to the general public. And as any state dispensary owner will testify, Colorado’s marijuana industry is heavily regulated. As of Thursday, dispensary owners were working to finish the many regulatory hoops that they had to jump through to sell retail pot.

“Yes, it’s been one of those paper-pushing nightmares,” said Adam Raleigh, owner of Telluride Bud Company. “But it’s going to be a bum rush, it’s going to be a novelty. I’ve got emails this last week from people driving in from California, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming and you know, New Mexico — coming in just to be here for Jan. 1, to be a part of history.”

Over the past several months, local dispensary owners have been working through the hurdles necessary to sell retail marijuana and fielding hundreds of phone calls from potential customers. Greg Viditz-Ward, owner of the Green Room, said he has been getting all types of inquiries about what will be on sale on Wednesday and how much there will be.

“We’re just in total chaos mode right now,” Viditz-Ward said. “I don’t know if the first is going to be our biggest day, but I think we’re going to have a lot of people here. Being that we’ve never done this before, it’s hard to say. We probably get a dozen people calling in daily from all over the country saying they are booking their trip. And I hear the hotel bookings are up, so that’s good.”

Beginning on Jan. 1, the state will allow retail shops to be open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. (Only existing medical marijuana dispensary owners in the state were allowed to transition to pot shops by the Jan. 1 date, though they had to do so under state and local rules. New retail establishments are expected to open later in 2014.)

Locally, all three of Telluride’s dispensaries are making the transition. Though each dispensary has its own schedule, all plan to be open by mid morning on Wednesday. Continue Reading...