Colorado's marijuana industry had a rough go in 2022, with prices and dispensary sales dropping at rates not seen since recreational sales began almost nine years ago. The tough times led to a number of business takeovers over the past year, with Colorado cannabis business acquisitions crossing $600 million by the fall, even before several more big deals were announced.
The Clinic, Colfax Pot Shop, Drift, Emerald Fields, Euflora, Green Man Fine Cannabis, Green Tree Medicinals, LivWell Enlightened Health, Lightshade, Smokin Gun Apothecary and Urban Dispensary were just some of the metro dispensaries to close or change hands in 2022. There were more deals involving growing operations, extractors or infused-product manufacturers.
Fewer independent owners and more consolidation are sad developments across the board, but some business closures hurt more than others. Here are the five dispensary closings that hit the hardest in 2022:
Four metro locations
The Clinic was one of Colorado marijuana's stars when recreational sales began in 2014, when it already operated multiple dispensaries; a genetics company, the Bank; and an extraction firm, the Lab. Strains like Tangie and Kosher Kush were mainstays in stashes across the state as the Clinic racked up awards and lucrative partnerships. In recent years, however, the Clinic's public presence quieted, with rumors of a sale surfacing on social media in the fall.
The rumors were true. PharmaCann Inc., the company that owns LivWell Enlightened Health dispensaries, announced it was buying the Clinic and its four remaining stores in September. All of the dispensaries have since been rebranded as LivWell locations, which now total 26 across the state.
2675 West 38th Avenue
Another longtime dispensary open since the medical-only days, Urban Dispensary sold to Schwazze, a multi-state marijuana ownership group based in Denver, after thirteen years of marijuana sales in the Sunnyside neighborhood. The $3.2 million package included the store, as well as a 7,200-square-foot indoor growing warehouse. After the purchase took place in June, Schwazze quickly converted the old Urban Dispensary into an Emerald Fields, another dispensary brand that Schwazze acquired at the beginning of 2022.
The Colfax Pot Shop
1500 East Colfax Avenue
We were never huge fans of the Colfax Pot Shop, where the prices and selection were average, at best. But even so, the store's simple, blunt name always held a soft spot in our hearts, and the green building was something of a mainstay on the corner of East Colfax Avenue and Humboldt Street. The Colfax Pot Shop had operated there for over twelve years before its owners sold the business over the summer to Cannabis Corp, a marijuana business group that also owns the Joint by Cannabis, a northwest Denver dispensary.
Mile High Green Cross
You could always count on a good flower selection and daily deals at Mile High Green Cross, which had operated in Capitol Hill since 2009. But then the dispensary alerted customers that it would be closing in May. Unlike other dispensary closures, this wasn't from an acquisition: The store's owner, a Salida-based marijuana ownership group named Pure Greens, decided to shut down Mile High Green Cross in order to focus on La Conte's Clone Bar & Dispensary, another dispensary that Pure Greens owns blocks away at 105 East Seventh Avenue.
Buddy Boy and TweedLeaf
Seven locations each
Buddy Boy and TweedLeaf each had seven stores, as well as a lot of employees. Within two months of each other, both companies abruptly closed with little notification to their workers. According to Denver and state tax officials, both Buddy Boy and TweedLeaf had been shut down without public warning because of six-figure bills owed for outstanding sales taxes. Buddy Boy closed all of its stores in June, and TweedLeaf did the same in August, with owners of both businesses blaming declining sales. Neither business has reopened, although dispensaries with different names have opened at former TweedLeaf-owned locations in Boulder and Denver.