Maybe it was the snow and ice that kept them away. Or, maybe it was the $5,000 plus buy-in that made so many medical marijuana dispensary owners shy away from applying for their Denver operating licenses on Monday.
Whatever the reason, only 26 applicants showed up on opening day at the office of excise and licenses to make application to legally dispense medical marijuana - and six of those were turned away for inadequate paperwork. 20 applicants out of some 450 holders of dispensary sales tax licenses.
All of a sudden, it doesn't quite sound like the wild west anymore. The deadline for applying is March 1, so anyone serious about supplying cannabis will need to hurry.
According to the Denver Post, "The application includes a background check with fingerprinting. Owners pay a $2,000 application fee, the cost of background checks and a $3,000 annual license fee, and must not have been convicted of a felony or served a felony sentence in the last five years. If the application is denied, the $3,000 license fee will be refunded."
Some dispensary owners may be re-thinking their commitment based on legislation that is currently flying through the statehouse that will establish yet another layer of bureaucracy (a marijuana licensing authority) and an additional slate of yet-to-be-determined fees. The Colorado Statesman reports that "The Massey-Romer medical marijuana bill would establish an 18-month moratorium on new marijuana business while allowing existing operations to transition over the same period into non-profit health centers subject to rules modeled on the state's liquor code."
So, in addition to $5,000 worth of Denver fees and sales taxes plus state fees and taxes, Denver dispensary owners would have to pay lawyers to rework their corporate documents to comply with nonprofit requirements.
Patients may want to consider buying up a supply soon because it looks like the price of medicine is going to go way up.