The Healthy Choice Wellness Center not so healthy after robbery attempt: Reports say shots fired, people injured, schools locked down

For a while, it seemed that most of the muttering about medical marijuana dispensaries and crime was based on fear and hysteria.

But reports about multiple armed robberies and burglaries, as well as a kidnapping, related to medical marijuana operations in Fort Collins were followed by a videotaped burglary at Green Tree Medical in Lakewood that made it difficult to shrug off the possibility that dispensaries could become crime targets.

Now, we're learning about the most prominent incident along these lines to date -- an armed robbery attempt this morning at The Health Choice Wellness Center, 3005 W. Gill Place. Channel 7 is reporting that shots were fired, resulting in three people being transported to area hospitals with unknown injuries. Also, two schools, Munroe Elementary and Castro Elementary, were placed on lockdown.

A number on a Craigslist ad for the center dated December 6 has been disconnected. However, Westword has obtained contact information for another individual said to be an owner of the business. If and when we're able to reach him, we'll update this item.

In the meantime, the incident is likely to have major repercussions on Denver's efforts to establish regulations for medical marijuana enterprises -- the subject of a live blog this morning. The debates during that session about security at dispensaries and so on are now extraordinarily timely.

Expect opponents of more liberal medical marijuana policies to cite the robbery at The Healthy Choice (yes, it's an acronym for THC) early and often in the coming days.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts