As of last week, there were 266 licensed dispensaries in Colorado, with the possibility for almost double that number by the time the state Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division finishes licensing. But there's no real telling when that will be.
Department spokeswoman Julie Postlethwait put together lists of licensed Colorado medical marijuana centers, and those for which licensing is pending, at Westword's request. In some ways, the data isn't as detailed as the list leaked in August, which the MMED didn't want going before the public with the addresses on it, per department policy. (Oops, our bad). But in other ways, it gives us a clearer picture of what is going on with MMC licensing.
Back in August, the list was only up to 176 licensed centers. In the roughly two months since then, the department has managed to license about ninety more dispensaries. At this rate -- and making the huge assumption that all the centers with pending licenses are approved (and that the MMED doesn't lose any more employees due to its fee-dependent budget), the department could be caught up by April 1, 2013. However, this goal will likely be reached earlier due to people dropping out or failing to make it through the lengthy final inspections.
Here's a look at a sample license:
The complete documents are below. But here's a partial breakdown as of October 25:
• 248 licensed type 1 centers, with no more than 300 patients.
• Twelve type 2 centers, with up to 500 registered patients.
• Six Type 3 centers, with more than 500 patients.
• More than $12.7 million in licensing and application fees collected since 2011.
• More than $431,000 in occupational and vendor registration fees since 2011.
Marijuana-infused product manufacturer licenses are not included in these figures.
Photo by Robert Fisher
Here's the breakdown of licensed centers by county:
• 87 centers in Denver.
• 58 centers in El Paso County.
• 29 centers in Boulder.
• Twenty split across Adams and Arapahoe counties.
• Nine in Jefferson County.
• Three in Broomfield County.
In August, we didn't really have a clear picture of just how many dispensaries remain in line for licenses. We do now, though: The department still has 272 medical marijuana center applications left to approve or deny. The overwhelming bulk of those (239) are in Denver alone. The county with the second-most dispensaries on the waiting list is Boulder, with seven.
The list doesn't separate centers that have applied since July 1,after the year-long moratorium on new licenses ended. Although those shops can't open until they're licensed, just like any other business, rumors have been circulating that new applicants have been able to skip straight to state approval by getting local approval early. Postlethwait says that's not true, though. Here's her clarification:
"It is true MMED cannot license without the business having local authority approval," she says. "But we still conduct our background check and determine if an applicant is eligible to hold state MMED business license prior to our issuing a MMED license -- which must be in place before they begin to operate. We do require that all applicants begin their license application process with their local authority, and if the local authority agrees, we will also begin review of a new application -- but only if the applicant is able to provide documentation that their local authority has agreed to 'concurrent' review" allowed under C.R.S. 12-43.3-302 (5). She adds that no post-moratorium applicants have been licensed and allowed to open so far.
But state law does allow businesses that were open before state regulations took place on July 1, 2010 to remain open and serve patients unless they are issued a denial from the MMED. All centers currently in operation (licensed or not) had to have paid their first year's licensing by last April, according to the Postlethwait.
Looking at the list of current applicants, it's hard to tell how many centers fall into either of the two categories above. But I would guess a lot belong in the latter group based on just driving around Denver for an hour yesterday running errands.
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More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana patient numbers rise to more than 104K in August" and "Marijuana: One pot bust every 42 seconds, FBI stats show."