Once the “richest square mile on earth,” Central City, Colorado is now largely a gambling town with casinos, an Opera House, and other gambling town amenities. People from all over the state go to enjoy a Vegas-style weekend in a closer and much more picturesque location. Now, though, it has another claim to fame. It’s the location of the world’s first recreational pot license.
Though it’s the first to get it, Annie’s is far from the only dispensary seeking a recreational license. The same company which owns the shop operates eight other dispensaries across the state, and hopes each one will be licensed. In total, 136 applications for recreational licenses were accepted by Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division in October, with decisions for each of those applicants guaranteed by the year’s end.
All approved stores will be able to start selling recreational marijuana on January 1, 2014, but Annie’s will always be the first, something they’re eager to promote. With a cover photo highlighting their honor on Facebook, the store has already drawn likes from multiple continents. It’s strategically placed to reap the benefits of its title, too, in a town whose revenue is already mostly from tourists.
A comment from Facebook.com says, Annie’s Central City Dispensary: “We are currently open for Medical patients. On Jan. 1, 2014 we will be open for retail with a valid ID showing you are 21 years of age or older! Out-of-staters can purchase 1/4 OZ per visit, Colorado residents can purchase 1oz per visit. In addition to edibles and extracts. Happy shopping!”
Preview photos of the store show black walls with deli cases filled with different marijuana strains. It’s no longer a matter of what’s available, legalization has turned marijuana into a legitimate business, with product competition to reflect this change. Colorado is already known for its craft breweries, with most towns having a brewery and some winning international awards.
Now the state is in the position to earn a similar reputation in the marijuana industry. Some fear that this will lead to “pot tourists,” but an equal number look forward to the tourist revenue from such an idea. In reality, it’s likely that states like Washington and Colorado are only the forerunners of legalized marijuana, and that other states will follow.
California is already preparing another attempt to legalize recreational marijuana. Lansing, MI and Portland, ME legalized the substance in the last election. The Huffington Post predicts that Alaska, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Rhode Island and Vermont will all legalize it in the near future. This interesting combination of red and blue states illustrates the unique nature of marijuana legalization as an issue.
Benswann.com’s Michael Lotfi notes in his recent article that the Feds are raiding homes even though the “parties involved claim they were properly licensed, followed all state regulations and were not doing anything which would have prompted the feds to step in.” So why are they raiding these legal business?
Benswann.com’s Joshua Cook asked Erin Phillips, CEO of Strainwise and owner of the retail store Annie’s Central City Dispensary if they were concerned with the recent events in CO where the FEDs are raiding legal marijuana retailers. Phillips emailed Cook stating, “at this time, Strainwise is not speculating on the possible reasons for the raids. We prefer to wait until all of the facts come out.”
Rob Corry, a Denver attorney and marijuana activist, told the Denver Post: “The DOJ needs to explain in a logical fashion why they are picking and choosing, going after only some of these entities when every one of them selling marijuana is running afoul of the federal law.”
According to Mason Tvert via Reason.com, “The Justice Department said it would respect states’ rights to regulate marijuana, and that it would not go after businesses as long as they are complying with state laws,” he said. “We hope they are sticking to their word and not interfering with any state-regulated, law-abiding businesses.”