Big Changes to a Handful of Longtime Denver Dispensaries | Westword

Big Changes to a Handful of Longtime Dispensaries

Over the last few months, some of Denver's oldest dispensaries have closed, changed names or announced plans to move.
Peak MJ at 250 Broadway is now Maikoh Holistics, but it's far from the only dispensary name change on Broadway.
Peak MJ at 250 Broadway is now Maikoh Holistics, but it's far from the only dispensary name change on Broadway. Scott Lentz
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Over the past few months, some of Denver's oldest dispensaries have closed, changed names or announced plans to move. And this is likely just the beginning.

Earlier this year, JARS Cannabis announced that its dispensary at 4305 Brighton Boulevard, where the country's first-ever recreational marijuana sale took place in 2014, had closed so that JARS could transfer the license and open a new store on Federal Boulevard. The historical purchase happened under a past dispensary group, and JARS leadership said the building required heavy maintenance.

In April, Denver's first medical marijuana dispensary, Allgreens, announced that it was moving to a new location just blocks up the road from its home of fifteen-plus years at 762 Kalamath Street and adding recreational production and sales licenses to the business. The dispensary's longtime patients are cautiously optimistic about the move  β€” and so are hash heads without medical cards, because Allgreens rosin is considered among the most exclusive in Colorado.

"We are a small, family-owned business, and it's going to be the same with rec," Allgreens co-owner Sean Foote told Westword ahead of moving stores this July. "It's going to be a boutique of who's the best right now."

Keeping the change rolling, longtime South Broadway dispensary A Cut Above quietly rebranded in April as ACA Dispensary to distinguish itself from A Cut Above dispensary in Colorado Springs, the store's former operator. The Denver dispensary's ownership, which also runs an ACA in Ohio, could not be reached for comment. However, the staff, selection and pretty much everything else besides the new name and signage remain the same.

This is just a sliver of a shuffled dispensary deck. For each person ready to leave the dispensary business, another waits in their place β€” even as Colorado cannabis sales fall for the third straight year. So why do people still keep getting into it? According to Opuntia co-founder Emily Drost, there's still a thrill to legal weed.
click to enlarge Shoppers outside of A Cut Above dispensary in Denver
A Cut Above, now ACA, is a popular Denver dispensary for shoppers who smoke flower.
Thomas Mitchell
"My hope is to never start any business venture with a negative mindset, especially this one," Drost told us earlier this year about her two new dispensaries. "I think that this industry is so fascinating to be in. It's really still in its infancy, but Colorado is a little further ahead than most. Navigating that is challenging but exciting. It's fun to identify how to navigate within this structure while also bringing along some great outside resources that aren't really cannabis-specific."

Opuntia's ownership group bought production and extraction facilities last year, as well as two dispensaries in south Denver from Mighty Tree and Solace Meds.

A few miles north, another pot-shop pillar has quietly left Denver. Peak MJ had been open at 260 Broadway for almost a decade before selling to Maikoh Holistics. A popular dispensary from Boulder, Maikoh has been open for about a month and is still getting settled into the new space. Management did not respond to a request for comment, but if the store is run anything like its Boulder operation, then Denver shoppers are in good hands.

Peak MJ still has one dispensary in Colorado: a recreational store in Sedgwick, a small town located about ten minutes from the Nebraska border.

Just over a week ago, High Level Health announced that its Market Street location in downtown Denver would now be a High Times dispensary, Colorado's first marijuana store with the iconic cannabis branding. Some of High Times' past dispensary ventures have ended poorly, but High Level Health is excited about the licensing deal.

"We've known them for a long time, and it's a brand that has resonated in the industry for almost fifty years," High Level owner Jim Rice said ahead of the High Times grand opening. "With the downtown market, you see a lot of people coming in from out of town. When people go to different states and they're not really sure where to go, when they see High Times, they will see a trusted name."

Well-known names are leaving Denver's dispensary trade, too, but they still find buyers.

Terrapin Care Station, a chain of six metro stores that began as one Boulder dispensary in 2009, announced it had sold all of its Colorado dispensaries as it focused on business operations in Pennsylvania's medical marijuana market. Five of those six stores will still be named Terrapin Care Station under the new ownership group, Sun Theory, while one store in Aurora was sold individually and has been converted into a Best Buds dispensary.

Best Buds now has three stores, all of which have opened in vacant dispensaries within the past four months, along with production licenses. Two of the stores were formerly run by Buddy Boy, a now-defunct Denver dispensary chain that abruptly shut down in 2022.

Expect more dispensary sales, takeovers and announcements in coming months. According to cannabis real estate listing service 420 Property, there are at least four dispensaries available for sale right now in Denver.

Laughing Grass, a Denver shop at 1110 West Virginia Avenue, has announced that it's going out of business soon, with management alluding to a breeding and genetics brand taking over. A very popular Boulder dispensary is rumored to be changing hands soon, too.

So much for getting past the growing pains...
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