MMJ shops down to 21 on Westside; city, state reviews continue

       If it's seemed to you that there are fewer medical marijuana dispensaries these days, you're right.
Business name Address License status
Advance Cure for Vera Bestura
Alternative Medicine Co Springs
American Wellness Center
Crosspoint Medical Center
Enlightened Care, LLC
Green Earth Wellness Center
Indispensary
Mountain Med Club
Natural Advantage
Nature’s Way
Secret Stash Progressive
    Medicines*
Strawberry Fields Alternative
    Health and Wellness
The Green House Inc.
The Healthy Connection
The Hemp Center
The Herb Shoppe, LLC
Todays Health Care, LLC
Todays Health Care, LLC
Total Health Concepts LLC
Tree of Wellness Inc
Trichome Health Consultants
2755 Ore Mill Rd. #13
2606 W Colorado Ave.
3632 W Colorado Ave.
3132 W Colorado Ave.
757 W. Garden of the Gods Rd.
519 N. 30th St.
3044 W. Colorado Ave.
22 S. Chestnut St.
925 W. Cucharras St.
3445 W. Colorado Ave.
2845 Ore Mill Rd. #6
* formerly Pikes Peak Compassionate Care Ctr
3404 W. Colorado Ave.

1024 W. Colorado Ave.
1602 W. Colorado Ave.
2501 W. Colorado Ave. #6
3020 W. Colorado Ave. #C/D
225 S. 8th St.
1635 W. Uintah St. #E
23 McKinley Pl.
1000 W. Fillmore St #105
2117 W. Colorado Ave.
City OK, Pending state
Pending city
City OK, Pending state
City OK, Pending state
Pending city
Pending city
City OK, Pending state
City OK, Pending state
Pending city
City OK, Pending state
Licensed

Licensed

Licensed
Licensed
City OK, Pending state
City OK, Pending state
Licensed
Licensed
Pending city
Pending city
Pending city

       As predicted by an industry representative 1˝ years ago, the number of stores has gradually been dwindling citywide. The Colorado Springs City Clerk's Office had received more than 170 preapplications for dispensaries before a deadline June 30, 2010. As of this week, the total of those operating and/or allowed to operate was down to 93.
       The corresponding numbers for the Westside were 36 preapps in 2010, with 20 of those still being allowed to operate now. (The actual Westside total is 21 because a dispensary from elsewhere in the city - the Mountain Med Club - relocated to 22 S. Chestnut St.)
       As for the other 16 from the original 36, City Clerk's records show that 11 withdrew or shut down on their own, 2 were denied during city review and 3 moved to other parts of town.
       The term “allowed to operate” is used because the city and state are still reviewing dispensary applications out of 122 that were submitted citywide to meet a deadline of Sept. 30, 2011. Because of the time the reviews take, dispensaries without known violations have been allowed to keep their doors open in the interim, according to city and Regional Building officials contacted by the Westside Pioneer.
       For the city, a little more than half of those reviews have been completed to date. An OK from the city qualifies a dispensary to be considered for a state license. Thirty have gained that license, while another 29 have the city nod but are still waiting on the state. On the Westside, out of the 21, just 6 have a state license, 8 have a city OK only, and 7 are still going through the city review process.
       The reason it takes so long at the city level is a combination of stringent rules - many of them new - and a limited number of staffers to review them, local officials have told the Pioneer. “It's been really difficult to review,” commented Bret Veltman, a city planner assigned to the Regional Building Depart-ment. “The dispensaries have to prove they can meet the codes, but at first we didn't know what the regulations would be.”
       In an added wrinkle, the federal government - which in 2008 had signaled that it would relax its enforcement of marijuana laws - last winter began cracking down on a law preventing dispensaries within 1,000 feet of schools. That spelled the end for the Westside Wellness Center on Bott Avenue (960 feet from a daycare), which otherwise had qualified for a state license.
       The citywide reduction had been predicted by Tanya Garduno of the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council. In December 2010, she told City Council that eventually the city would settle out at 60 to 80 dispensaries.
       Legal under Colorado law, MMJ dispensaries are only allowed to sell marijuana or its “infused” derivatives to people with “red card” doctor's prescriptions. The locations in the Springs are limited to commercial and industrial zones with distance limitations from certain types of socially sensitive locations.

Westside Pioneer article