A medical marijuana dispensary which opened in Delta near the intersection of Highways 50 and 92 has Delta Police Department Chief Robert Thomas scrambling to protect both the new business and the community.
According to a press release issued by owner Mike Cardile, Green Natural Solutions is a full-service medical marijuana dispensary bringing compassionate care to patients on the Western Slope with valid Colorado medical marijuana cards for ailments such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and chronic pain.
Green Natural Solutions offers dried cannabis in 30 strains as well as edibles, tinctures and ointments.
Green Natural Solutions opened its first shop in Grand Junction in July 2009 and has since expanded to Delta and Glenwood Springs. The store is managed by Jared, who asked that his last name not be published.
He explains that Green Natural Solutions provides a safe location for card-carrying patients.
“They shouldn’t have to go out on the street for product which is inconsistent, illegal and expensive,” he said. “This location offers just the opposite — a safe and consistent product in an anonymous, discreet location.”
He added that he has yet to see someone who didn’t appear to be a “legitimate” patient. Customers who are able-bodied and under the age of 50 will be scrutinized closely, he said.
“We’re here to treat legitimate patients.”
The business has already been visited by Chief Thomas and interim city manager, who advised Jared that some restrictions will soon be imposed on the business, with council approval. Thomas said he will ask the council to review a list of requirements for lighting, signage and handicap compliance for the business, as well as background checks for employees.
Jared agreed those measures are simply common sense.
Taking a proactive approach, Thomas also had some recommendations for enhancing security.
“My goal isn’t to try to prohibit these individuals from an opportunity to open up a business; my goal is to ensure that the business is safe and that this community is safe,” Thomas said. “What I don’t want to see is large volumes of traffic, juveniles or anyone who has drug problems, lining up at the door trying to get in, hanging out and creating a situation which could escalate into a physical confrontation.”
Across the state, medical marijuana dispensaries have proliferated rapidly since the U.S. Justice Department announced it would not actively prosecute medical marijuana businesses — despite the fact that marijuana remains an illegal drug under federal law.
This week, Colorado attorney general John Suthers commented on the Justice Department’s stand.
That policy, he says, relies on the faulty assumption that Colorado has clearly defined laws on medical marijuana. In fact, it does not.
“Amendment 20, written by marijuana legalization proponents, is very vague and contains no meaningful regulatory scheme,” he stated. “Dispensaries and grow operations, for example, are not mentioned in either Colorado’s Constitution or its statutes. This vacuum has given rise to problems I and other law enforcement leaders have highlighted over the past few months. This legal vacuum also has left Colorado’s towns and cities to grapple with the state’s burgeoning marijuana trade.
“For the U.S. Attorney General’s new policy to have any significance for Colorado, our state lawmakers must give clarification to Amendment 20 and create a regulatory scheme for the growing medical marijuana industry.”
The voters of Colorado voted in November of 2000 to amend the state constitution to allow the use of marijuana medically for specific ailments with a doctor recommendation.
By Pat Sunderland