Shaun Hadley, 25, plans to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Craig and will address the Craig City Council about the issue at its Tuesday meeting. Hadley, who also is a registered marijuana patient with the state, said he thinks the dispensary is an opportunity for him to do something good for the community.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Shaun Hadley, 25, plans to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Craig and will address the Craig City Council about the issue at its Tuesday meeting. Hadley, who also is a registered marijuana patient with the state, said he thinks the dispensary is an opportunity for him to do something good for the community.

Local man intends to open medical marijuana dispensary in Craig



Medical Marijuana

Craig native Shaun Hadley talks about his plan to open a medical marijuana dispensary in town. Hadley is a medical marijuana patient, and hopes to provide a local option for other patients in the area.

Craig native Shaun Hadley talks about his plan to open a medical marijuana dispensary in town. Hadley is a medical marijuana patient, and hopes to provide a local option for other patients in the area.

Different takes

See Thursday's Daily Press for multiple views from community residents about medical marijuana.

Shaun Hadley was born in Craig and has lived here his entire life.

Hadley recently was laid off from his job as an electrician, but at 25, he wants to turn a problem into an opportunity.

He wants to do something that he thinks will make a positive difference in his community.

He wants to open a medical marijuana dispensary.

"I know some people are going to have a big problem with it, but it's not for them," he said. "It's for the people who deserve it, who are sick and need treatment."

His inspiration for opening a local outlet - which he plans to call Craig Apothecary, after a historical name for pharmacists - came from his frustration in trying to find someone who could provide his marijuana.

Hadley, a medical marijuana patient, said he chose the controversial treatment instead of prescription painkillers.

"When I was 21 years old, I severely herniated two discs in my back," he said. "They put me on all the pain pills, and I hated it. It made me unable to play with my son. I couldn't function. I didn't feel well."

Medical marijuana was a breakthrough, he said.

"It's been amazing," Hadley said. "It really has."

Legally, marijuana providers are known as caregivers.

A registered marijuana patient must designate someone as their caregiver for it to be legally recognized, but patients can choose anyone.

Caregivers aren't everywhere, though, Hadley said, adding he has traveled to and from Denver to purchase marijuana before, about a $100 roundtrip.

If he can be a local source, one that keeps costs down for people seeking treatment, then he can do some good, Hadley said.

"Marijuana can be dangerous if used irresponsibly," he said. "Vicodin can be a dangerous drug, yet it's prescribed across the board. We're not going to be drug dealers. I'm not just some guy looking to make a quick buck."

Hadley plans to address the Craig City Council at its Tuesday meeting with his business partner, who owns a dispensary in Longmont.

Their plan is to open a commercial storefront with minimal signage and grow marijuana themselves. The business would only sell to legally registered patients, Hadley said.

Hadley called the city clerk to put himself on the council's agenda the day after Craig Mayor Don Jones said the city should do something to stay ahead of the medical marijuana issue.

At the mayor's request, city staff organized a public workshop for the issue and others at 5:30 p.m., before the Tuesday meeting when Hadley plans to speak. The workshop and formal meeting will be at Craig City Hall, 300 W. Fourth St.

The mayor's concern was born out of the fact the state has no regulatory authority over medical marijuana dispensaries. Hadley's only requirement was to buy a sales tax license, the same required of any business.

If local communities want to regulate dispensaries - such as specifying where one could operate and what hours it could be open - they are on their own.

"I just figured it'd be coming sooner or later, and it was sooner rather than later, I guess," Jones said.

The mayor added he plans to keep an open mind regarding medical marijuana dispensaries until he sees how Hadley plans to keep his product away from those who aren't patients.

Jones said the city has about three pages of codes intended to limit the adult entertainment industry, but he isn't close to recommending the same treatment for medical marijuana.

One man he intends to ask for advice on the matter, however, does not support the concept.

"I'm frankly of the opinion that selling marijuana is against federal law," Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta said. "I'm not sure what, at this point, I would recommend to City Council. It's a sticky situation."

Despite potential legal obstacles, Hadley and his girlfriend, Jessica Asplund, 21, said making medical marijuana available to people who need it is the right thing to do.

"It's taxed, it's legal," Asplund said. "The people of Colorado voted for this. It's imperative that it's allowed because people need it. If anything, not having a medical dispensary facilitates the illegal drug trade because it's taken underground."

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or


thatdude 7 years, 8 months ago

I really hope it works out for Hadley. There should be a way people in Craig who are registered MMJ users can get their meds without driving all the way to Denver and the Front Range..or even Steamboat.

I can assure you, marijuana has helped many many people and it will continue to do so.

Good on ya' Hadley!


A_Happy_Lawyer 7 years, 8 months ago

I am an attorney and an advocate of responsible marijuana reform.

The demonization of this plant has continued too long in this country, and I am overjoyed to see that a responsible, law-abiding citizen like Shaun Hadley has undertaken the challenge of providing a legitimate marijuana dispensary operating lawfully in Craig. This will be no easy task, I am sure. I am pleased to be one of the 1st people to comment positively on this article in support of Shaun's dream. I am hopeful that all commentary presented here, or at City Hall on Tuesday, will be encouraging and respectful of Colorado's Medical Marijuana laws.

For you naysayers, please read Mr. Hadley's comments carefully, and if you get the opportunity, listen to him speak on Tuesday before you pass judgment. Mr. Hadley is not a criminal, and his plans are not unlawful under Colorado law. I applaud him for his determination, professionalism, and desire to contribute positively to his community.

Countless studies have shown that marijuana can have positive benefits for certain medical patients. The Colorado State Legislature has agreed, and has passed appropriate laws to regulate this fledgling industry. Mr. Hadley is a true pioneer of a legitimate, yet still controversial healthcare alternative. How many of you would be willing to risk public ridicule, social pressures, and intense scrutiny to alleviate the pain and suffering of your neighbors? Would you rather that they resort to a black market run by thieves and criminals to obtain relief? Because they will, if no other alternative presents itself. Pain is an incredible motivator -- it can motivate people to lead secret lives and dwell among the criminal underworld, not out of a desire to be lawless citizens, but simply out of a need to lead a productive and pain-free life. There must be an alternative. The State of Colorado has approved it, and Mr. Hadley is willing to tread fearlessly onto unproven ground to provide a lawful alternative to the citizens of Craig.

The people of Craig have a choice here, and I hope they choose wisely. Mr. Hadley is making a sincere attempt to run a law-abiding, tax-paying business that is transparent in its operation and mindful of the public trust under which it operates. As he stated wisely "marijuana can be dangerous if used irresponsibly." Nobody is advocating the free and unregulated recreational use of marijuana here. Mr. Hadley hopes to provide a responsible alternative to those in need. If the people of Craig seek to prevent him, they will send a chilling message to legitimate, State-registered medical patients that the only alternative in this town is criminal activity.

God bless you, Shaun Hadley.


pathfinder2006 7 years, 8 months ago

Hurray for Hadley !! It's about time... I have a response to Chief Vandettas comments... Marijuana is legal under the Colorado Constitution which the chief and his little indians are supposed to uphold and protect us, the citizens of Colorado, against the big bad wolf callled Federal Law...and to the question posed by the Mayor about how to keep medications away from people it is not intended for is the same way grandma has to keep little Billy out of her med cabnet. it the Pharmacist fault if lil Billy eats grandmas Vicodin? I don't think so. anyway you go Hadley and I will see you in your new store...supporting local business as I always do. Have a Groovy day..Peace


oawow 7 years, 8 months ago

"I messed up my entire life because I got high I lost my kids and wife because I got high now I'm sleeping on the sidewalk and I know why - cause I got high" -Afroman Actually, I'm all for this now we can tax it.


Frank Estey 7 years, 8 months ago

Smoking is bad for your lungs, why not just take the THC pill and skip the stoner trip.


A_Happy_Lawyer 7 years, 8 months ago

@ GreyStone -- your "stoner" comment exemplifies the prejudice and misunderstanding that many people have with Medical Marijuana. Medical patients are not stoners.

You are absolutely correct that smoking marijuana can be hard on the lungs. But not every medical patient chooses to smoke marijuana cigarettes. Vaporizing has become a popular technique, which greatly reduces (but does not wholly eliminate) the impact on the lungs. In addition, many well-stocked medical marijuana dispensaries offer products which are meant to be taken orally, not inhaled. Marijuana can be infused into a variety of edible products, such as cookies and candies. The dosage can be controlled and many patients prefer edibles to smoking. It is also possible to prepare a soluble oil solution and package the product in gel-caps, which would be essentially the "THC pill" you are referring to. Some medical marijuana dispensaries do offer this product.

If, on the other hand, you were referring to Marinol, the synthetic THC pill developed by Solvay Pharmaceuticals, there are two compelling reasons for patients to avoid it. First, it's simply not as effective as natural cannabis. Second, it's expensive. More expensive than buying marijuana on the black market. A quick search showed that one online pharmacy is selling 60 pills for $1,627.89 (link: I did not shop around, that was just the 1st result when I searched for Marinol for sale.

Mr. Hadley's dispensary would allow local patients access to better and cheaper medicine than the pharmaceutical companies are currently able to provide. Since "better and cheaper healthcare" has become the National topic of the day, I'd say that Mr. Hadley's plan offers a viable solution to a timely concern.


thatdude 7 years, 8 months ago

Happy Lawyer...we need more people like you know what you are talking about.


All4Change 7 years, 8 months ago

I think that this would be a huge step in the right direction not only for Craig, but for the entire country. Marijuana use will only continue to grow statistically and it is absolutely the smartest thing we can do to provide it as an alternative treatment for the patients that prefer not to be regularly pumped full of synthetic pills. People die daily from overdosing on pain killers such as oxycodon, vicodin, or even an over the counter drug such as aspirin. "According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, in 1998, there were 14,253 toxic cases involving aspirin not in combination with other drugs. Of these, 5363 occurred in children between the ages of 6 and 19. Out of the total number of cases, there were 33 deaths." - Yet doing your research it is nearly impossible to find anyone that will say that marijuana can be smoked or ingested to toxic levels. If there is a natural way to make people pain free, we as a society need to accept that and provide that to the people that need it. Good luck Shaun, thank you for being one of the few to stand up for change!


Marvin 7 years, 8 months ago

I am so proud of Mr. Hadley for standing up for OUR rights. I feel that it is our right, as a people, to choose what is best for our bodies and lives. If we can go to the liquor store, and CHOOSE to buy a bottle of jack ; that causes countless alcohol related deaths, disease, and addictions, then we should have the right to choose NON lethal NON addictive Marijuana. Also, there is a reason why the people of the state of Colorado voted Medical Marijuana to be legalized on a state level. It should be the city of Craig's duty to uphold state law, not sit and ponder ways to weasle around it! As to the cheif of police's comment about the law, Obama, our president, passed legislation BANNING federal raids on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, so as long as Mr. Hadley's buisness complies to state laws, then he shouldn't fear the big bad FEDS. The Craig Apothecary will be coming to town and is a valuable asset to the communitie and more importantly to those in pain, and shame on those that try to stop it.


Frank Estey 7 years, 8 months ago

@ A_Happy_Lawyer,

National Cancer Institute For Cancer-Related Appetite Loss, Cannabis Is No Better than Placebo

Journal of Clinical Oncology, July 20, 2006 (J Clin Oncol. 2006 Jul 20; 24(21): 3394-3400.)


Marvin 7 years, 8 months ago

This article was taken from NORML.COM

Opponents of medical marijuana law reform often argue that few or no health authorities recognize cannabis as a legitimate therapeutic agent. Most recently, this notion was repeated by DEA Director Asa Hutchinson, who stated, "We all have sympathy for folks that need medication, but we have to listen to the scientific and medical community, and they're saying that marijuana has no legitimate medical purpose." This contention, however, is altogether untrue. In reality, numerous health and medical organizations from both the United States and abroad support the use of marijuana as a medicine.

The following list is a sampling of the various health and scientific organizations that back patient access to medical marijuana. Though it is not meant to be comprehensive, it is intended to provide a cross-section of the medical community's broad support for medical cannabis, and present a referenced, fact-based response to those who claim otherwise. As the medical cannabis issue continues to stimulate political debate, reformers and legislators need to consider the positions of the medical community to better make informed policy decisions regarding the medical use of marijuana.

The reccomendations are so extensive, and I do not want to flood out this comment section, so copy and paste this link in your URL to see the full list of health organizations' endorsements:


Frank Estey 7 years, 8 months ago

"Among these challenges were an unusually high placebo effect; a high dropout rate due in part to the psychoactive effects of the THC; and "the clinical reality of interfering symptoms and complications, adverse effects, and interactions of other medications." ." He added that the psychotropic effects of THC are well known to be troublesome in some patients, which remains a hurdle for researchers trying to demonstrate the value of specific medical uses of marijuana."

Can the psychoactive effects of the THC be a good thing for mental health ???


GlacierDragon 7 years, 8 months ago

I think the comments have gotten off track. The subject is should he be able to set up a dispensary, not if the drug does any good or not. There are lots of drugs that have the same controversy and yet are still available to the public through a pharmacy. The fact of the matter is that is legal to prescribe it and take it. It's also safer to get it at a dispensary than to get it from a dealer. I think that as long as everything is legal, regulated and taxed, he should be able to have the business. I'm happy to hear that edible forms are available. I'm highly allergic to pot smoke and hope more people take the edible option than the smoked one in consideration for those around them. Good Luck, Shaun.


A_Happy_Lawyer 7 years, 8 months ago

@ GreyStone -- Thank you - that link demonstrates my point that synthesized THC compounds are not effective. Read the study. Not just the abstract, the entire paper. The title "Cannabis is no better than Placebo" is misleading, because none of the patients in this study were given natural cannabis.

Pharmaceutical companies are motivated by profit, and are most interested in developing medicines or processes which can be patented, and thus offer an exclusive monopoly. Marinol is the synthesized THC that was used in this study. (Identified as "THC") They also gave a second group a placebo ("PL") and a third group received what the authors called "whole plant cannabis extract" or "CE." Sounds promising, doesn't it -- like maybe this "CE" really IS some natural cannabis product? Well, it is, and it isn't. Unlike Marinol, it is derived from real Cannabis plants. But, just like Marinol, the "CE" resulted from a patented extraction methodology developed by a pharmaceutical company. It is European Patent # EP1368048, if you'd like to look it up. The process not only extracts THC, but one other cannabinoid as well, cannabidiol. Unlike Marinol, which contains only THC and no cannabinoids, the "CE" process does leave a uniform ratio of 1mg cannabidiol to 2.5 mg THC. This is done via a multi-step chemical extraction. Cannabidiol, by the way, is only one of more than 60 naturally occurring cannabinoids in Cannabis. The rest were stripped away.

So the patients received either synthetic THC, or chemically-altered Cannabis Extracts, neither of which retain the full range of compounds found in natural cannabis. It's not surprising that the results were ineffective. Regardless, anybody who has ever actually used real cannabis will tell you that it certainly does increase one's appetite, even if you are not a cancer patient. All this study tells me is that Pharmaceutical Companies have not been able to create a patented process that improves on Mother Nature.

For what it's worth, I found it interesting as well that the subjects were all "Patients [who] had an estimated life expectancy of 3 months." Honestly, if I knew I had only 90 days left to live, if that was my reality, I doubt there would be anything that could restore my appetite, either.

There is no doubt a lot to learn yet about the effective use of medical cannabis, but we certainly aren't gaining any more data by banning it.

Also, it is worth noting that appetite loss due to Cancer is only one of a myriad of medical marijuana applications approved by Colorado.

There are many studies "for" and "against" the effectiveness of cannabis to treat various maladies. Ultimately, it is not your decision, or my decision, or Mr. Hadley's decision whether or not Marijuana should be recognized as a safe and effective treatment option. In this State, the Colorado Board of Health makes that decision, and it already has.


Marvin 7 years, 8 months ago

@ A_Happy_Lawyer

I just want to say thanks for bringing a higher level of intilect and understanding to this discussion.

@ everyone Some people (ahem... GreyStone) randomly select a brief portion of studies and take those words as God's. Now that doesnt seem very objective,,now does it? As to the article he/she was picking from, the PHARM. company has everything to gain in stating that Marijuana is less effect in comparison to synthetic THC pills, that they produce. DUH. I wish that people would open their eyes and not eat the dis-information that's fed to them, or at the very least be smart enough to double check their sources.Why not channel that 'reefer madness' mentality to a worthy adversary? for instance, I wonder if GreyStone is anti Vicoden, a commonly perscribed pain killer, that is highly addictive and can be fatal if taken in large doses....Or anti alcohol, that is responsible for countless deaths, liver disease, cancer, & addiction. Oh, and not to be forgotten are those NASTY cigs that we all puff so dearly on, who knows what toxic subtances are packed in there!

What I am trying to say is that ANTI marijuana people should lay off and nit pick something that ACTUALLY kills, is directly linked to diseases, and ruins lives..... But you would never see that, because PHARM. drugs are the norm. Society thinks we should "just swollow the pills and accept the side effects. Forget about safe natural alternatives, that crap is for hippies!" Sadly, I believe that is why little old Craig, with its little old beliefs, is resisting on a political level. We the people should NOT have to fight so hard for the rights WE VOTED FOR in this great state. The City should uphold these laws, not look for loop- holes. People have the right to know their options. If a person decides that Medical Marijuana is right for them, no one has a right to contest that. People have a right to choose, & those people that choose an alternative for chemical, synthetic, addictivly dangerous drugs, should be granted SAFE, LEGAL access.


Frank Estey 7 years, 8 months ago

Making medicinal pot legal? Medicinal pot is just side show for making pot legal.

No, just make pot a legal drug just like cigarettes and alcohol . While we are at it, why not repel all gun laws, seat belt & helmet laws and then make cocaine and crank legal. Government should not be our baby sitter.


Frank Estey 7 years, 8 months ago

@ Marvin,

I am a cancer patient, going on a little over five years and several rounds of chemo & radiation treatments plus several surgeries. After trying just about everything legal and not legal, I think I have a pretty good idea what works and what is just plain crap.

Make pot legal, but don't do it under the mask of medical reasons.


JAHM 7 years, 8 months ago

So I agree with Greystone on this one. All this wasted time and money when we could be taxing it. In fact it would probably benefit society being that many medical studies site that heavy marijuana use lowers men's testosterone levels and sperm count and quality. So natural selection will prevail yet again! Now Marvin you continually say it does not cause cancer. ???? I don't know that there is a definite on that being that some studies support that claim while others call that a blatant lie. Not sure if I would say either way but you continue to spout that as a defense. So yes take the babysitter away and tax it. That way maybe honest studies can be put out to tell the truth rather then deceptive articles to hide it in legal loopholes!


Marvin 7 years, 8 months ago

Medical 'pot' is legal in this state. Also it is taxed when sold in dispensaries. As to greystone knowing what works and what is crap, what works for you may not work for others, and that is obvious when you look at the number of people that choose Medical Marijuana as an effective means to cope. If you are managing your cancer and pain without using medical marijuana, than that's great. But that is your choice. I'm assuming that you are an adult, and you have the right to choose your treatment. So please dont chastise those that dont see your way as the only way.


Really 7 years, 8 months ago

Just make it legal and tax it! This battle has gone on too long.


Marvin 7 years, 8 months ago

It is legal in the state of colorado, and is taxed when sold in dispensaries.


Isis 7 years, 8 months ago

Tax it at a similar rate to cigarettes. One way to balance the state budget. I just don't want the business in a residental area. This should be restricted to a business zone


Craig_Apothecary 7 years, 8 months ago

Craig Apothecary has opened for business! We are now taking appointments by phone. We will also be offering free bio-feedback and drug counseling sessions in the near future! Don't have your card? Do you have a qualifying condition, and need help getting it? Call us! We have all of the necessary documents, literature, and forms, and we can put you in touch with a Doctor! Find out if Medical Marijuana is right for you! Call us anytime at 970-824-5580 Shaun Hadley Owner, Craig Apothecary


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