Pubdate: Thu, 12 Dec 2013
Source: Summit Daily News (CO)
Copyright: 2013 Summit Daily News
Author: Kelsey Fowler


Four of five current medical marijuana dispensaries in Breckenridge
have submitted paperwork to either the town or the state to start the
process of opening retail operations, Breckenridge Chief of Police
Shannon Haynes said.

The Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) began accepting
retail applications Oct. 1, 2013. Approved stores can begin selling to
adults over 21 on Jan. 1, 2014.

Haynes said once the town signs off on the paperwork for retail
licensing, it is sent to the state for approval, then back to the
town. The town looks for applicants to meet certain parts of the
building code, but since only current shops can apply, Haynes has not
yet seen any issues, she said.

"We've put out an FAQ sheet and gone to meetings with the restaurant
association, the lodging association, to try to touch as many people
and places as we can with the information they need," she said. "We've
been putting this out to as many people and places as we could get it
out to."

No new marijuana licenses will be issued in 2014 in Breckenridge; new
retail applicants must wait until Jan. 1, 2015.

Breckenridge Cannabis Club co-owner Caitlin McGuire will be converting
her shop entirely from medical to retail, and said a large part of
doing retail sales will be education.

"We get a lot of patients from out of state, who can't get a card no
matter how much they might qualify and we have to turn them down," she
said. "Fortunately, with retail we will be able to serve those
people's needs if they are over 21."

Medical marijuana cards can be issued at age 18, while the retail
sales are limited to those 21 or older. Therefore, a shop selling both
must either have separate entrances and inventory for the two crowds,
or only allow medical sales to customers over 21.

Alpenglow Botanicals in Breckenridge is keeping just one storefront,
so it will be unable to serve 18-year-olds, but will keep selling
medical marijuana for those 21 and up.

Organix is still waiting on the state for approval, but also plans to
continue to sell medical marijuana. Breckenridge Organic Therapy will
begin retail sales while keeping medical product, but most likely not
until Jan. 15 or later.

McGuire said the Cannabis Club has paid all of its local and state
fees, and now is just waiting to hear back from the town for final
approval. McGuire said she hopes it will have the license before the
holidays, and she sees no reason she won't be able to open Jan. 1.

"Without entirely knowing what to expect, we're expecting sales to go
up," she said.

Currently, the minimum fees for retail application total more than
$7,000 at the local and state levels. There is a state application fee
of $250, as well as a local authority application fee of $250. At the
Colorado level, the cost for retail for a medical marijuana type 1
center, which serves fewer than 300 patients, is $3,750. In addition,
the town of Breckenridge charges $2,812.50 for type 1 retail
application fees. There is also an additional $2,750 cost for optional
premises cultivation for a store, and application fees can reach
$10,000 at both the state and local levels for stores serving more

Banking is another challenge medical and retail marijuana stores face,
since sales still are illegal at the federal level.

"We can't accept credit cards, we have to be cash only because there's
a gray area on the legal side of it," McGuire said. "The federal laws
sort of scare the banks away. I'd love to be more transparent and have
a bank account for the business. I could pay my taxes a lot easier."

Marijuana cannot be consumed in public, and Haynes said that presents
some unique challenges due to the nature of the product.

"There's really not a way for us to ID if a lollipop came from City
Market" or a pot retailer, she said. "Are we going to be grabbing
people off the sidewalk and asking, 'Where did you get that lollipop?'
No, but we will enforce the law and the spirit of the law to maintain
an atmosphere in this town that's welcoming to everyone who wants to

Consumption of marijuana is allowed only in private locations,
providing it is not prohibited by the property owner. Anywhere on
Breckenridge Ski Resort is off limits, as are spaces like the
Riverwalk Center.

"We're going to treat impaired driving the same way we always have,"
Haynes said. "Alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, any other drug, we have no
tolerance and that won't change."

For McGuire and other medical marijuana shopkeepers, the opportunity
to branch out into retail sales is a welcome one.

"It's a bit surreal to see it actually happen," she said. "More than
anything we're just excited to see something we always envisioned
happening so fast."