The first recreational marijuana dispensary in Fort Collins opened its doors on June 20. Well, sort of.
Organic Alternatives had already been operating as a medical dispensary since July of last year, but didn't obtain a local license to sell recreationally until this past Friday. But since Choice Organics, which has been selling recreationally since April 9, is technically in Larimer County, just outside Fort Collins, it's officially FoCo's first.
As you know, Amendment 64 legalized the sale of marijuana statewide, but it also gave cities the right to ban sales within "territorial limits."
Fort Collins has definitely taken advantage of this option. A William Breathes post from November 2012 notes that the community originally allowed medical dispensaries, and its city council spent months coming up with regulations in 2010. Then, in 2011, the community voted to ban dispensaries during an off-year election. But a year later, a majority of voters (55 percent) said they wanted them back.
Then, in September 2013, Fort Collins enacted a temporary ban on dispensaries to "to allow City staff sufficient time to develop proposed regulations" on the marijuana industry, both medical and recreational. The ban wasn't lifted until March, and only dispensaries with an existing medical license could apply for a recreational one. A handful of medical dispensaries have opened or reopened since the ban was lifted, but Organic Alternatives was the first recreational shop to open in within city limits. Since then, three dispensaries have obtained licenses to sell recreationally in the Fort Collins area.
Both of the aforementioned retail dispensaries are up and running, while the third approved licensee, Flower Power Botanicals, is currently only selling to medical patients. Larimer County approved Flower Power Botanical's retail license in May, and a Flower Power employee says the dispensary will be ready for retail sales in about a month, after some zoning and construction requirements are met.
Fort Collins can now be listed with cities and towns like Aspen, Boulder, Breckenridge, Denver, Pueblo and Telluride as a retail pot-friendly community.
More from our Marijuana Archive circa November 2012: "Marijuana: Fort Collins voters overturn dispensary ban."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.