Pubdate: Fri, 30 Jul 2010
Source: Summit Daily News (CO)
Copyright: 2010 Summit Daily News
Author: Robert Allen


Dispensary Owners Jump Through Hoops For Licenses

SUMMIT COUNTY -- Local medical marijuana dispensary owners were
scrambling this week to keep their doors open.

Sunday is the deadline for the centers -- as defined by new state laws
- -- to apply for a state license. The next opportunity will be summer

"I'm getting ready to deliver a bible of paperwork," said Cory
McNeill, owner of the Breckenridge Loft. "The most highly scrutinized
license ever given out in American history makes it very nerve wracking."

There's a business application and a personal one. The latter requires
a 10-year employment and business association history, detailed
personal financial information, fingerprinting, copies of all higher
education degrees and more.

Meanwhile local governments are dealing with their own stacks of
paperwork. Breckenridge Town Council recently passed an emergency
ordinance to allow two of its roughly seven dispensaries to change
hands before Aug. 1.

And with another state legislative session convening before the
year-long moratorium on new dispensaries ends, many attorneys expect
the laws to change again.

"It's a moving target," said Breckenridge town attorney Tim Berry,
who's re-drafting regulations for medical marijuana that comply with
state House Bill 1284.

As storefront dispensaries began popping up across Colorado last year,
Berry drafted a set of regulations that set an example for many other
mountain towns. Changes with state law include creating three types of
local licenses -- storefront, growing and marijuana-infused (for edibles).

Sean McAllister, a local attorney who represents eight of the county's
roughly 10 dispensaries, said he's been spending much of his time
helping those clients get compliant.

"I'm swamped," he said.

Deadlines, complications

By Sept. 1, all the dispensaries that made it through the July 1
deadline for local approval and Aug. 1 deadline for state approval
will have to prove to the state that they're growing 70 percent of
their own product.

This adds further to complications at the local level, as dispensary
owners plead with their governments to let them set up marijuana
farms. A local dispensary owner was denied a request of Summit County
government last month to open a window in its moratorium and allow him
- -- and possibly other business owners -- to set up grow operations in
unincorporated county land.

Other towns have similar moratoriums likely to prevent grow

Berry said the language of the standing Breckenridge regulations makes
growing operations possible in town limits, with a set of rules that
include mandated air filtration.

McAllister said that with the state's medical marijuana laws signed
June 12, there's "essentially six weeks to bring the an industry into
compliance that's been acting without regulation for 10 years."

Colorado voters approved medical marijuana in 2000.

"It's very short-sighted, by this legislation they put everybody in a
bad position: towns and dispensary owners," he said.

McNeill said he expects his business to continue.

"It's been very tough. It hasn't been impossible," he said, adding
that finding a place to grow was more difficult than the paperwork.

Still, he's clocked about 70 hours spent getting his applications
prepared. The process is likely to deter many people, but McNeill said
patients still need medicine in Breckenridge.

Meanwhile, he said other dispensary owners who were once very open
with each other about their business plans have "become so closed off
so quick."

"How long will people tolerate the bureaucracy? How much money will be
thrown at this?" McNeill said. "It's anybody's guess what's going to
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