The explosive growth of Colorado's marijuana dispensary scene issooo
September 2009. The next big thing, it turns out, is marijuana institutes -- organizations designed to help folks makes heads or tails of the heady medical marijuana scene.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
The development is a no-brainer. The state's medical marijuana law is so vague -- it doesn't mention dispensaries at all -- that every dispensary in town keeps a lawyer on retainer to help them stay on the up-and-up.
More often than not, that attorney is one of three Denver legal mavens who've created a lucrative dispensary-consulting industry for themselves. The triumvirate includes Warren Edson, one of the organizers of the state medical marijuana amendment; Brian Vicente, executive director of the drug-policy reform organization Sensible Colorado; and Robert Corry, a prominent local civil-rights attorney.
Now these lawyers have taken their business one step further -- by starting or associating themselves with official-sounding institutions offering services to dispensary owners and marijuana patients. Here's the breakdown:
Marijuana Deals Near You
- Medical Marijuana 101 LLC: The first of the bunch, this is Warren Edson's baby. Calling itself "Colorado's premier medical marijuana educational center," the operation hosts $300, all-day classes around Denver -- the first half a primer on state marijuana law hosted by Edson and the second half a cooking and growing tutorial led by "Hans," a well-known pot connoisseur. The operation's website notes recent sessions have been sold out and some students had to be turned away.
- Canna-Business Institute: Just launched by Brian Vicente and his colleagues, the Canna-Business Institute is, according to Vicente, "devoted to providing quality training and education to individuals interested in working in the burgeoning medical marijuana industry." In other words, a pot-themed vocational school. Upcoming seminars will cover everything from accounting to bud tending to knowing your legal rights. They cost $300 to $500 each.
- Cannabis Therapy Institute: More of an advocacy organization than the other organizations, the Cannabis Therapy Institute has been making a lot of noise lately, encouraging dispensaries to self regulate, launching an "Always Buy Colorado Cannabis" campaign and even hosting a marijuana health fair. Robert Corry's associated with many of the institute's programs, and he's the only Denver-based medical marijuana attorney listed on its website.