Colorado medical marijuana centers capitalize on a variety of products
October 7, 2010
More in Part 2
Growing Pains Part 1
Growing Pains Part 1
Steamboat Springs — Smoking marijuana isn't the only way to consume it.
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Colorado's medical marijuana centers typically offer a variety of infused products, from baked goods to tinctures and just about everything in between.
Rocky Mountain Remedies in Steamboat Springs has about 100 unique products for sale. From two dozen strains of medical marijuana — including the Western Slope Cannabis Crown-winning Kandy Kush — to more than a half-dozen hashes, 15 edibles, 15 tinctures and eight sodas.
There's also a wide variety of paraphernalia, including pipes, bubblers and bongs. Rocky Mountain Remedies even sells T-shirts.
Despite the array of products, Rocky Mountain Remedies' bread and butter continues to be its medical marijuana.
"Whatever we put on the shelf, 80 percent of our business is plain ole nug," co-owner Kevin Fisher said, using a slang term for high-quality marijuana buds.
He quickly corrected himself.
"Not 'plain ole' — killer."
On the Front Range, Michael Lee, owner of Cannabis Therapeutics in Colorado Springs, stocks 84 medical marijuana products on his shelves. In addition to marijuana in its traditional form, he sells pot-infused edibles such as cookies, brownies and muffins.
Baked goods often are made with marijuana butter. Dried marijuana can be added to butter, brought to a boil, simmered, cooled and used as regular butter would be.
Lee also sells marijuana-infused chocolate, candies, granola bars, gum, popcorn, beef jerky, cheese, spaghetti sauce, cough drops, muscle rubs and even suppositories. In August, Lee stocked 14 kinds of organic soap, four types of bubble bath, bath soaps and shower gels. And he produces it all himself.
"If you can imagine it or ask for it, we make it," Lee said.
Routt County's other medical marijuana centers also promote a variety of products.
JJ Southard, operations supervisor for Natural Choice in Steamboat, said he hopes the center's seed bank — offering marijuana plant seeds from as far away as Europe — becomes its niche in the marketplace.
Jacob Wise, owner of Mary's in Oak Creek, similarly hopes to expand his tincture business. Wise said in August that he thinks the alcohol- or glycerin-based liquid extract typically made from dried marijuana offers more of a medical application than simply smoking pot. It's applied in small amounts through an eyedropper on the tongue.
Like his counterparts at Rocky Mountain Remedies, Wise acknowledged that selling medical marijuana continues to make up the majority of his business. But he thinks tinctures will become more popular.
"I have five people within walking distance that have never smoked pot who are on tinctures," he said. "The results are amazing."
Rules also regulate infused-product makers
Like medical marijuana center owners, infused-product makers were required by House Bill 1284 to apply for a Colorado Department of Revenue license, submit to a criminal background check and pay a $1,250 fee by Aug. 1. More than 300 people statewide applied for the license.
To apply, infused-product makers were required to have business licenses from their local municipalities. Steamboat Springs senior city planner Bob Keenan said last month that the city has not licensed any infused-product makers.
The legislation subjects infused-product makers to labeling and sanitation requirements. Infused-product makers can partner with medical marijuana centers or cultivate their own marijuana if they obtain a separate growers license. However, infused-product makers who grow their own marijuana can use it only for the production of infused products. Licensed infused-product makers also are permitted to sell their products to any licensed medical marijuana center.
Part 3 Blazing the trail: Municipalities across the state have been forced to weigh in on the marijuana debate. The months ahead will shape the industry.
What you missed
Part 1 Seeds of controversy: It took nine years for Colorado's medical marijuana industry to take off after Amendment 20. Some worry it's now out of control.