Seven Longtime Denver Area Dispensaries Are Now Fired Cannabis | Westword

Seven Longtime Denver Area Dispensaries Change Hands

One of the selling chains will live on with four stores.
Four Lightshade Denver locations will soon be Fired Cannabis
Four Lightshade Denver locations will soon be Fired Cannabis Scott Lentz
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Fired Cannabis didn't take very long to heat up.

A handful of longstanding dispensaries in Aurora and Denver are converting into Fired Cannabis stores, including four former Lightshade locations and all three spots under the Altitude the Dispensary banner. Ownership records from the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division and Fired Cannabis employees confirm the sale, with staff estimating that the transactions occurred in mid-May.

All seven dispensaries still bear the branding of their former stores, but employees say there will be a rebrand, and a Fired Cannabis website is already up and running. Ownership of the state's newest dispensary chain could not be reached for comment.

Lightshade announced the sale of its Sixth Avenue, Barnum, Peoria and Sheridan stores on June 24. The company will retain ownership of dispensaries in Aurora, Federal Heights and Denver on South Dayton Street and East Evans Avenue.

Founded in 2011 as a medical marijuana dispensary and cultivation, Lightshade eventually grew to ten stores in the Denver area. However, Lightshade sold two dispensaries to Schwazze Cannabis last year — both of which were converted into Emerald Fields dispensaries and are now closed — and ownership sees "significant changes" coming after selling off four more.

"Lightshade has been committed to serving the Colorado community since 2011, and we are proud of the relationships we have built with our customers. This sale to Fired Cannabis marks the next chapter for these locations, ensuring continuity and sustained quality of service,” Lightshade co-owner Steve Brooks says in a statement. “While Lightshade as a brand will see significant changes, our core values of quality service and community commitment remain unwavering.”

Lightshade management declined to comment beyond the statement announcing the sale.

Fired Cannabis will rebrand the three locations of Altitude the Dispensary in Aurora and Denver, as well.  Another local dispensary chain that began in the medical marijuana days, Altitude the Dispensary was founded in 2009 and eventually expanded to three stores shortly after recreational sales began in 2014. Its owners could not be reached for comment.
click to enlarge marijuana dispensary
Altitude the Dispensary stores in Aurora and Denver have been taken over by Fired Cannabis, as well.
Scott Lentz
A handful of longtime dispensaries have closed or been sold over the past year as Colorado's marijuana industry continues to see sales and revenue decline.

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.)

Selling weed in Colorado doesn't have the allure it once did. After increasing for seven straight years to a record $2.2 billion in 2021, annual marijuana sales have been falling in Colorado, hitting just over $1.5 billion for 2023.

Record-low wholesale prices, a long list of business closures and a 30 percent decline in employment have also hit marijuana businesses during that span, while state data shows that the number of recreational marijuana growing licenses fell over 21 percent from December 2022 through December 2023.

According to marijuana sales data from the state Department of Revenue, dispensaries statewide have averaged just over $119 million in sales over the first four months of 2024. In 2023, Colorado's worst-selling marijuana year since 2017, dispensaries averaged over $131 million in the same span.
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