Marijuana: Boulder's first recreational pot shop opening a surprise to owner, too

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On January 1, eighteen recreational marijuana stores opened in Denver -- and that number has more than doubled in the weeks since then. But in Boulder, which may have the weediest reputation of any Colorado community, not a single non-medical pot shop was open until 12:36 p.m. yesterday, when Terrapin Care Station's Folsom Street branch finally debuted. Why the delay? And why such a weird launch time? A TCS spokesman has those details, as well as info about the official grand opening later in the week. Photos, a video and details below.

As noted by marijuana advocate Shawn Coleman, whose public-affairs firm, 36 Solutions, is working with Terrapin Care Station, Amendment 64, the 2012 measure that allows adults 21 and over to use and possess small amounts of cannabis, calls for the state to issue business licenses to qualified individuals between 45 and ninety days after an application is received. This language was likely inspired by long Department of Revenue licensing delays for medical marijuana operations a few years back.

Coleman notes that Denver passed enabling regulations for marijuana businesses in October, so that those 45 days would end prior to January 1, the first day when shops were allowed to open under the amendment. In contrast, Boulder didn't get the job done until mid-November -- and licensing was further delayed because a moratorium on the businesses didn't expire until New Year's Day.

As a result, entrepreneurs in Boulder couldn't even submit their applications until January 2, at which point the clock began to tick.

Terrapin Care Station owner Christopher Woods applied on that day, Coleman reveals -- and by his calculations, the 45th day fell on Monday, when city offices were closed for Presidents' Day. Then, the next day, Woods was at the Department of Revenue's offices for what Coleman describes as an unrelated appointment when a staffer said, "By the way, we have your license. Would you like to have it?"

The answer was "yes," of course -- and Coleman is impressed that it was ready. "This time last year, we were talking about a Department of Revenue that was months or even years behind on issuing licenses," he points out. "But I think the department has really gotten its act together."

Armed with the license, Woods headed to Terrapin Care Station's 1795 Folsom Street outlet, briefly closed the doors, and then worked with staff to conduct state-mandated inventory transfer procedures. And when they were done, at 12:36 p.m., they opened their doors to recreational customers.

Continue for more about the opening of Boulder's first recreational pot shop, including more photos and a video. Word spread quickly. While the shop wasn't inundated with business, Coleman guesses that perhaps twice as many customers as patronized the store when it was exclusively a medical marijuana dispensary visited yesterday,. He expects even more to stop by in the coming days, even though the branch is now recreational-marijuana only; MMJ patients who'd previously patronized the Folsom Street TCS must now travel to its other address, at 5370 Manhattan Circle, Suite 104.

Meanwhile, Woods and his crew are preparing for the real Folsom Street grand opening, slated for 8:30 a.m. on Friday. Scheduled events include a ribbon cutting by Boulder City Councilman Macon Cowles, and representatives from Congressman Jared Polis's office are among the expected attendees. For more information, click here.

No word about whether any of the dignitaries will be making a purchase, but Woods is trying his best to keep prices near those for medical marijuana despite the myriad state and local taxes placed on recreational pot. "It's still going to be possible for someone to walk out of the store with an eighth for under forty dollars," Coleman says.

And for the first time inside Boulder's city limits, customers without a red card will be able to make such a purchase legally.

Here's a Boulder Daily Camera video about Terrapin Care Station's opening. The paper reports that another recreational marijuana business, Karing Kind, is also operating in Boulder County; it began doing business at 10:20 a.m. yesterday.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Marijuana archive circa February 4: "Photos: See all 37 recreational marijuana shops Denver has licensed so far."

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