Ask a Stoner: Why Are Medical Dispensaries Disappearing?

Dear Stoner: Do dispensaries even care about medical sales anymore? Barely any of them around Denver have a medical side.

Dear Redd: First, it depends on which town you’re shopping in. Although some metro communities allow medical and recreational sales, most of the towns to come online after January 1, 2014, such as Aurora, Commerce City, Longmont and Thornton, only allow recreational dispensaries in their jurisdictions, and the same can be said for the rest of the state. On top of that, cities that allow dual-use sales are seeing fewer medical businesses pop up, and many of their current stores are converting to a retail-only model. The numbers reflect the decline, as state medical marijuana earnings hit their lowest marks since 2014 in May, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue.  Retail marijuana has a larger customer base that will pay higher prices, it’s taxed more (making it lucrative for local communities), and its stores can still serve medical patients without the need to keep an entirely separate (and costly) MMJ business license. Some retail-only pot shops offer discounts to medical patients, but the deals and products still aren’t the same. Sadly, this looks like more of a trend than a phase.

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