Medical marijuana dispensary applications: 700-plus, earning Colorado $7 million

By Joel Warner, Tue., Aug. 3 2010 Originally Published in Denver Westword

Every Colorado dispensary and associated business had to apply for a state license by August 1 — which means we finally have a total number of Colorado pot shops willing navigate the state’s new rules and fees. The tally: 717 dispensaries, 271 marijuana-infused product manufacturers and 1,071 grow facilities — in total earning the state $7.34 million in fees.

Considering there’s roughly 105,000 medical marijuana patients in Colorado, that breaks down to about150 patients for every dispensary in the state.

When the dust settles, the number of dispensaries may actually be slightly higher, says Department of Revenue spokesperson Mark Couch, since there’s roughly one-hundred mail-in applications that have yet to be processed. In total, the department received slightly more applications than it expected, since it figured about half of the 1,100 or so dispensaries officials had guessed had opened shop would actually go through with the application process.

The numbers also shed light on the size of most Colorado dispensaries. All but 35 of the 717 dispensaries applied for a “Type 1” medical marijuana center license, meaning they serve 300 or fewer patients. Only fifteen applied for a Type 2 license, meaning they work with 301 to 500 patients, and twenty applied for Type 3, reserved for behemoths with 501 or more customers.

What’s interesting is that there are more grow-facility license applications than the total number of dispensary and product-manufacturer applications, even though only dispensary owners or product manufacturers can own a grow facility. That’s because several business owners appeared to own more than one grow facility, says Couch. “It protects them,” he says. “If they have blight on a grow at one facility, they will still have another source for their crops.”

Still, other questions remain, such as: How many businesses will make it through the application process and actually be granted the all-important state license.

Click here to see the Joel Warner’s original blog

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