Cannabis consumers looking for retail outlets after 10 p.m. will now have another option for late-night buds: Thornton. On Tuesday, July 24, the Thornton City Council approved extending dispensary hours until midnight.
The northern suburb is still new to retail cannabis; its first dispensary opened last November after the city council approved allowing dispensaries in Thornton earlier that year. Despite Thornton's relative inexperience with dispensaries compared to that of larger cities like Denver or Boulder, the town has been quick to open itself up to cannabis conversations. Mayor Heidi Williams initially opposed retail cannabis in Thornton, but she recently joined a national group of mayors calling for federal cannabis reform, and she's since advocated for providing banking services to pot businesses.
Thornton dispensaries were originally allowed to operate until 10 p.m., but councilmembers soon began considering pushing back dispensary hours to give the industry the same hours of operation as liquor stores, according to city communications director Todd Barnes. The ordinance had already passed its first reading 7-2, so there was little doubt that it would ultimately pass. However, not everyone was on board for the final vote.
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Councilwoman and mayor pro tem Jan Kulmann said she'd rather wait until all four of Thornton's dispensaries are open before making the move, in order to get a full understanding of the industry's impact on the town. "I'm all for open businesses and making sure that we're equal and have opportunity for all our businesses. I think with this issue, we have an obligation to our community to make sure that we are following what we promised," she said during the July 24 meeting. "I'd be happy to wait until all four open before I voted on this, because I would support it at that point — but I'm going to have be a no this time around."
Despite Kulmann's objections, the final measure passed 6-3, with the support of Mayor Williams.
As Kulmann pointed out during the meeting, one of the city's four designated dispensaries has yet to open. Medicine Man, Rocky Road Remedies and Sweet Leaf were all open by April, but Green Dragon, the first store to gain approval, has yet to open its doors. According to the company's website, Green Dragon's Thornton location should be open by August 2018.
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Thornton now joins Edgewater, Glendale and Mountain View as metro communities allowing dispensaries to stay open until midnight. Dispensaries in Denver can only stay open until 10 p.m., which was extended from 7 p.m. in 2017 after much public discussion.
Medicine Man, the first dispensary to actually open in Thornton, was quick to pounce on the new hours.
"Medicine Man is thrilled that Thornton has allowed dispensaries to stay open until midnight. ... Medicine Man will provide a late-night dispensary option and will be open from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. seven days a week," Medicine Man marketing director Trey Fisher says. "Thornton has been very supportive of our business, and we look forward to continued growth within this great community."
Correction: This story was updated on July 26 to correct the name of Rocky Road Remedies.