Craig Apothecary owner Shaun Hadley stands in front of a selection of medical marijuana Wednesday at his dispensary on Breeze Street. Hadley has seen business expand since opening Craig’s only medical marijuana dispensary in August 2009. Hadley said there’s been no crime reported at his business since opening.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Craig Apothecary owner Shaun Hadley stands in front of a selection of medical marijuana Wednesday at his dispensary on Breeze Street. Hadley has seen business expand since opening Craig’s only medical marijuana dispensary in August 2009. Hadley said there’s been no crime reported at his business since opening.

Craig medical marijuana dispensary sees expanded client base


— In a time when many local businesses are struggling, Craig Apothecary has quadrupled its business.

Since opening in August 2009, Craig’s only medical marijuana dispensary has seen its client base jump from 20 to 60 individual patients.

Owner Shaun Hadley said the success has been spurred by the popular business model of helping patients receive recommendation cards online from an out-of-town doctor.

“Once we got that going, that’s when the numbers really started to stack up,” he said.

Hadley said local doctors weren’t waiting with open arms.

“There is not a whole lot of compassion from the doctors in this area,” he said. “We spent a lot of time trying to find a doctor that would give recommendations to only very ill people. We weren’t all for the ‘rubber stamp’ doctors.”

Craig Apothecary hasn’t seen any crime since opening, Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta told the Craig City Council during its meeting Tuesday night.

Council member Jennifer Riley expressed concern about the store after hearing reports of dispensaries in Denver being robbed or burglarized.

Vanatta reassured Riley that police are keeping watch over the shop.

Hadley and shop assistant Jessica Asplund attribute the increasing business and lack of crime to changing attitudes in the community toward their product.

“It was only at the first city council meetings that we had a lot of negativity,” Asplund said.

Since that time, a growing number of patients from Hayden, Meeker and the rest of Moffat County have kept the two occupied.

“It’s busy but not too busy,” Hadley said. “The location allows us to give more individualized care and spend more time with patients.”

Hadley said that unlike other dispensaries, Craig Apothecary “doesn’t sweep the customer in and out.”

“We like to be there for the client to answer any questions and see if the type of strain they have been using is working for them,” Asplund said. “We want to keep the care on the patient as much as possible.

“There is a real medical need for this in the community.”

Hadley considers Craig Apothecary unique in that “the police have kept their distance from the business,” he said.

“It’s really weird, actually,” he said. “In Denver, the police have a big presence in the stores, coming in, checking things out and see how it’s going, but the Craig police have been very hands off.”

Between running their business and personal lives, Hadley and Asplund also keep watch on current legislation swirling in Denver regarding medical marijuana.

As more people apply for cards and dispensaries spring up around the state, specific issues such as dispensary regulations and qualifications of recommending doctors are garnering attention and potential legislation.

“We have to keep up with it everyday,” Asplund said.

But despite controversy and stigma that sometimes come with operating in a highly-criticized industry, Hadley said he is proud to be a business owner.

“We’re happy to pay taxes and do our part,” Hadley said. “I feel like it legitimizes us.”

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story contained an error that has been corrected.


Craig_Apothecary 5 years, 12 months ago

The Craig Apothecary would like to point out that our Physician is not Out-Of-State. He is located and licensed in the State of Colorado. Thank you!


CindyLou 5 years, 12 months ago

That is awesome......I have never met Hadly but he is exactly how I imagined him......a bright young man with shaggy hair and a body fueled by the slight case of the munchies. He doesn't look anything like Joe the pharmacist at city market......"times they are a change'n" as Dillon wrote.


whoyagonnacall 5 years, 12 months ago

Brian must be partaking in the quadrupeled??? Last I checked my math, 20 to 60 is only tripled. More Nacho Cheese Doritos anyone?


aPerspective 5 years, 12 months ago

Congrats! Nothing pleases me more than to see success rise out of the face of adversity.....ecspecially in closed minded town like Craig 'Merica!

God Bless The USA...... And President Obama for allowing the state this opportunity.

I do believe Green is the new Red,White and Blue.


T066J 5 years, 12 months ago

Twenty to sixty equates to quadrupled? Must be "new math" albeit slightly fueled by the product it's associated with!


Henry_Round_Bottom 5 years, 12 months ago

I think it says that Business has quadrupled, not the client base.


Frank Estey 5 years, 12 months ago

I think this says a lot of people have lost their jobs, their 401-k is tanking, credit cards are maxed out, house payment is three months delinquent, car payment is due and they need some medical relief.


logic 5 years, 12 months ago

I expected more out-cry from the public after reading this article, but am encouraged to see the support for this medicine. People are becoming more educated about this substance. 70% believe it should be legalized for medical use. Over half believe it should be taxed and regulated similar to alcohol. I believe there needs to be a serious national debate regarding this issue, instead of just making the tired jokes about it making you lazy,stupid, and hungry. Marijuana could potentially solved a lot of Colorados budget problems, especially when lawmakers are talking about cutting funding to schools, and public health /safety. I understand the fears associated with MJ. It has been drilled into the American populace since the 1930's. However that propaganda has no scientific data. The research has finally come out stating how benign MJ is--(non addictive, non lethal, and not a gateway drug) We can no longer be hypocrites about this. If alcohol and cigs are legal (which are lethal and highly addictive) then so should MJ.


Lawspecialist 5 years, 12 months ago

I believe people portray just how little and shallow they are when they down others by their looks. Got a magic mirror? Take a look around; half the women in Craig run around wearing slippers, mens pajama pants or sweats, baggy shirts and their dirty hair in a pony tail; or their pants are so tight their stomach hangs out and you see the muffin effect. Half the men have this big hang over their belts, wear a shirt so tight that material between the buttons spreads when they sit and you can either see their stomach or their under shirt, not to mention their double chin, unshaven face, hairy ears and a hair arrangement that looks like they left their home without even using a hair brush. They smell, they spit, and they appear as though they don’t care about much. It's one thing to have a legitimate concern; it's another to attack a persons looks to try to support your concern. That type of behavior actually reflects on the attacker, so you people just keep on showing your true colors! Go Craig!


Frank Estey 5 years, 11 months ago


See there , you are being very unfair for poking fun just because I ride a Harley, live in Craig, don’t get my hair cut to your specifications and look a little disheveled at times. We wear our 1% patch on this jacket to show the world we are not like you.

Yes, who said Craig, Colorado wasn’t a Harley Davidson Town.


legaluser 5 years, 11 months ago

As a legal user, I find that this dispensary owner has violated the spirit of the law. How can a doctor write a recommendation without seeing a patient? It's morons like this that legislation like SB109 was passed for. I think the state should invalidate any license that was issued w/o a doctor having physically seen the patient! And the doctors writing the recommendations should be prohibited from writing further recommendations!!!

I have forwarded this article to Sen Romer, as this is clearly a violation of the law!!


Henry_Round_Bottom 5 years, 11 months ago

@ legaluser Perhaps you should get your facts straight - SB 109 has NOT passed as any sort of legislation. It passed a Health Committee Vote, and will now be sent to the Senate Floor to be discussed and tinkered with before any sort of vote occurs to put it into law - And even then, there will be a 3-6 month grace period for the laws to go into effect. It still has two major hurdles to get over before it even thinks about becomming law. So, really, there is no law at all being violated.


legaluser 5 years, 11 months ago

Whether SB109 passed or not is not my point....It is idiots like this that helped create SB109. I'm sorry, no doctor can recommend MMJ without having physically seen a patient. I am a registered patient and it's idiots like this that are making things tougher on all of us!! And yes, since med pot is still a schedule 1 drug, it is a crime to reommend it. Just like you cannot phone in certain narcotic perscriptions, you need the paper one at the pharmacy.


aPerspective 5 years, 11 months ago

Also speaking from the view point of another Legal Patient..... i too believe that getting a recomendation from a doctor via. webcam is a tid bit crazy..... I have been in the medical marijuana program since its conceptulization ...and i am a person who truly benefits from using MMJ.......... its true, people such as this (doctors and dispensaries) that are ruining the system for the majority who dont abuse it!

For these people.... It's clearly all about tha' Dollar...Dollar .....Dollar Bills Y'all!


aPerspective 5 years, 11 months ago

...and Greystone......... i thought the 1% Patch was sybolic of "outlaw biker gangs" and wanna be "outlaw biker gangs"? association with "Harley Davidson" other than you crusing one.......

are you thug for life? or do you have no clue what your really wearing?

I view the 1% Patch like MS13 tattooed on a gut


Frank Estey 5 years, 11 months ago

aPerspective, These patches and tattoos are meant to solicit ignorant responses like yours. :-}


Henry_Round_Bottom 5 years, 11 months ago

A quick search on google for "On-Line Painkiller Prescriptions" brought up over a dozen search reults, but these are the bad guys, eh? And there is no crime at all occuring when a Doc recommends it. If he were to Prescribe it, there would be a federal crime, but recommendations have NOTHING to do with the feds. So, still, no laws broke. Sorry. :-) And crazy or not, moral or immoral, idiots or geniuses, what they do with their doctor is 100% allowed and legal. I know one person who had gotten their card through this Dispensary, and they had to have all kinds of previous medical records. They also had Cancer, so it's certainly not like the Doc is giving reccommendation for hurt toes (As far as I know) Perhaps if Doctors in this area were compassionate to Cancer Patients, MS sufferers, Amputation victims, and AIDS patients, an on-line doctor would not be needed in the first place.


funkspiel 5 years, 11 months ago

Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits.

  • Mark Twain.

westslopeguy 5 years, 11 months ago

Hey aPerspective: Interesting that you find a "recommendation" via web-cam unethical, or at least worthy of inquiry.

I was recently seen at the VA tele-clinic in Craig and PRESCRIBED 3 different medications, (all accepted as "legal by prescription" and none considered by the general pharmaceutical industry as "controversial"), via web-cam. It was also "recommended" that I add 2 OTC supplements, (again none considered "controversial" by the general populace). Not only was this diagnosed, prescribed and recommended via web-cam, but this was done by a Physician's Assistant, NOT a degreed, licensed MD.

And this is not only sanctioned by, but supported and encouraged, by our own United States Government, AND our very own Craig Daily Press, (reference weekly articles printed encouraging participation with the clinic).

I'm not complaining mind you, I am actually thankful that I can get the medications needed to keep me alive at a price I can afford. But I do find it ironic that one can complain when a given practice is used to promote something one doesn't agree with, but brag about the same practice in use when in one's own "good judgement."

You know me, no matter how hard I try NOT to contribute to the tripe posted, I just have to add...

My 2cents


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