Business

Former Frosted Leaf Locations Are Now Police & Thieves Dispensaries

The dispensary at 399 South Harrison Street has a new name.
The dispensary at 399 South Harrison Street has a new name. Hilal Bahcetepe
The former Frosted Leaf dispensaries at 399 South Harrison Street and 6302 East Colfax Avenue are undergoing an ownership transition and have rebranded as Police & Thieves.

Frosted Leaf is not affiliated with Police & Thieves, which is now open and operating, according to Police & Thieves owners Kelsy Yates and David Tomas Martinez. The Frosted Leaf store at 445 Federal Boulevard is currently closed, according to a store answering machine.

The ownership change is under review by the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division as Yates and Martinez work with Frosted Leaf ownership to transition the brand, but the duo already has big plans. First, the new name, which has raised eyebrows due to its connection to law enforcement and the disproportionately negative impact the War on Drugs has had on historically marginalized communities.

Yates and Martinez argue that Police & Thieves stands for resistance, however: “We’re aware there are going to be people that don’t get the name without understanding it, or without the context. There’s nothing offensive to anyone, in my opinion," Yates says.

Both Yates and Martinez are writers who currently live in New York with their children. Martinez, a poet and author from San Diego, says that Police & Thieves is an homage to the classic roots reggae song of the same name by Junior Murvin, which was later covered by the Clash.

"There’s the aesthetic, but then the cultural resonance that "Police &Thieves" has always held as a song of resistance, a song of change,” says Martinez. “There’s been excitement; some people didn't understand it, which is expected. It’s not a run-of-the-mill dispensary name."

Yates says the brand is planning to do community outreach programs, particularly with incarcerated individuals and support organizations that work to rehabilitate people from previous convictions. In addition, the partners are planning to collaborate with local artists for merchandise design. Since both Yates and Martinez are writers and big on the arts, they also want to create an artist support program for historically marginalized people.

"We’re very aware of the cultural and historic inequities that are around drugs in this country. That’s something we’re very aware of and take very seriously," Yates says. “I do understand how some people’s initial reaction [to the name] is uncertain, but once the brand is fully developed, it will be better understood.”

Martinez and Yates’s children were both born in Denver, and Yates briefly lived here before moving to New York in 2019.

“We still have an affinity for Colorado. I don’t necessarily smoke that much, but I think cannabis has so much potential in it,” she adds. “What we’re excited about is to be creating a luxury brand that’s focused on the terpenes and cannabinoids, and educating the budtenders to help customers to achieve their specific type of experience, as opposed to aiming just for high THC levels."

The exterior of the Police & Thieves Harrison location, which has a sign that reads "Marijuana, has been proven to improve grammer," and that of the Colfax store are temporary until the full rebrand is complete. Yates estimates the transition will take about a year to complete.

Update: This article was updated at 1:30 p.m. Friday, January 7.
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Hilal is an alumnus of Metropolitan State University of Denver, with a degree in political science. Along with Westword, she's written for Denver Life magazine and 303 magazine.
Contact: Hilal Bahcetepe