Quoted from Coloradoan Story: Remaining Loveland MMDs to close doors by Tuesday
Author: Maria Servold ♦ Loveland Connection
LOVELAND - The seven remaining medical marijuana dispensaries in Loveland have until Tuesday to close their doors after Loveland voters decided in November to oust such operations from the city.
Many of the dispensaries already have closed, said Loveland's revenue manager, Jim Wedding.
"Most of them are gone," Wedding said.
In the fall, just before the election, 14 dispensaries were registered with the city.
Jason Specht, the unofficial spokesman of the Loveland Association of Wellness, or LAW - a group formed last year to support and reform dispensaries in town - said many shops are selling their product to dispensaries in other cities.
"Everyone's kind of wrapping things up," Specht said.
Dispensaries in Fort Collins and Denver, for example, are purchasing product Loveland's dispensaries won't be able to sell after Tuesday.
However, those sales aren't garnering much income for the dissolving shops, Specht said.
"The problem is that these are shark-infested waters," Specht said. "Dispensaries know we're in a tough spot, so they can get the product very cheap."
Specht said dispensary owners will sell their product even if it's not at a very competitive price.
"It's just a matter of 'some money is better than no money,' " he said. "That's where we're at with that."
Local dispensary employees aren't having much luck trying to find jobs with shops in other cities, either, Specht said.
"Everyone's got their staff, and they've already made plans," he said. "They didn't necessarily include a safety net for those of us unfortunate enough to be removed."
Currently, there are more than 20 medical marijuana dispensaries operating in Fort Collins, said Steve Ackerman, owner of Organic Alternatives in Fort Collins.
He said he hasn't been contacted by Loveland dispensaries looking to sell product.
Ackerman also is president of the Northern Colorado Medical Marijuana Business Council, which he said focuses mainly on helping dispensaries in Fort Collins ensure safe, legal access to medical marijuana through community awareness and self-regulation.
LAW and several of Loveland’s dispensaries requested an extension of the March 1 deadline from the city several months ago, hoping to extend the dispensaries’ end date to July 1.
“We were asking them, rather than shuttering us to continue because there’s been enough undue hardship on the business,” Specht said. “We didn’t hear back from them on that.”
City Attorney John Duval said the issue came up informally before the City Council several weeks ago but that there wasn’t enough interest among members of the council to look at extending the deadline.
Specht said the city’s dispensaries continue to hope for another chance at selling marijuana in the future.
The dispensaries did generate tax revenue in 2010, but it made up only a tiny portion of the city’s total sales-tax revenue, Wedding said.
In 2010, the dispensaries in Loveland generated $83,169 in sales tax.
“Of the $29 million (in sales tax) that the city made overall (in 2010), that’s less than 1 percent,” Wedding said.
The few dispensaries that were open in 2009 generated $16,835 in sales taxes that year.
Should any dispensaries remain open past March 1, Duval said, they could face legal action including fines.
---------- CENSORED COMMENT FOLLOWS ----------