As Michael Roberts reported earlier today, the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division announced it would be extending employee licensing deadlines because the office was being overwhelmed with applications.
We've also been hearing from the applicants themselves about the overwhelming waits and hundreds who've been turned away before the doors technically even opened.
Scott Reach, grower with Southwest Alternative Care in Denver, said he was twentieth in line this morning when the doors opened after arriving at the MMED office at 5:45 a.m. The first people in line showed up at 3:15 a.m. As of 12:30, Reach said he was still waiting for his background check to finish, so he could have his photo taken and walk out with his badge.
Liz Mellam, an employee at Kind Love in Glendale, said she spent five hours last Friday at the MMED getting badges. She outlined the process, noting the longest wait was for the IRS background check to come through. She said the majority of applicants were "dudes", and while everyone is annoyed at spending their day in line, people were generally in good moods.
The MMED has also announced that satellite offices in Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and Fruita will be opening soon, so employees at dispensaries outside the metro area don't have to drive to Denver and possibly be turned away. That news came a little late for Buena Vista dispensary owner Clarice Hamme, who closed up Natural Mystic Wellness on Monday to make the trek with her co-owner husband and master grower. "If we could have [driven to Fruita instead of Denver], we would have," she said. "It's a pain to make you go all the way down to Denver. But, the bottom line is that you are going to do what you need to do to be compliant."
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Southwest Alternative Care owner Truman Bradley said that despite the amount of work it's taken to meet state requirements, he feels "cautiously optimistic" that the regulations will have a positive impact on the industry. He also noted that it's nice to see the MMED facing pressure just like the dispensaries have. "It's a big task, and they are doing a good job," he said -- but "it's nice for them to feel how massive this has been for us, because it's been hard."
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Not everyone shared such a positive take on the situation, though.
"It just feels like another way for the state to make it as hard as possible to run a [medical marijuana] business," an anonymous reader wrote to us this morning. "A lot of people in line work 10-14 hour days and have to stand in line for hours to only possibly get their badges. Also, lines of people standing outside at the dog race tracks is not nearly as fun as one might think. We are patient people but we also are humans and business people and would like to have at least one process where we aren't treated like lepers."
Been waiting in line at the MMED all day? We'd love to hear your story in the comments below.
More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division top cop Marco Vasquez once in narcotics bureau."