Wake-Up Call: Marijuana fuels the new rush to the Rockies

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One hundred and fifty years after the last rush to the Rockies, when gold was discovered back in 1859, a new rush is on. This time, adventurers are mining medical marijuana -- and business is smoking!

Every day, I get a call from another acquaintance thinking of getting into the field or hear of another dispensary opening in advance of the city or state adopting any additional regulations on the business. The newest: Apothecary of Colorado, which opens today at 1730 Blake Street.

This dispensary comes with serious street cred: Its owners, Scott Durrah and Wanda James, also run 8 Rivers, the Caribbean restaurant just down the street that's become a political watering hole.

"We are not new to understanding the medicinal value of marijuana," says Durrah, a chef who's also a medical marijuana patient. "I am proud of the fact that the Apothecary of Colorado's medicine is grown here in Colorado by our horticulturist. We will be able to provide and control the quality of medicine and patient care that this new industry demands."

They also plan to help organization this new industry through Coloradoans for Medical Marijuana Regulation, a team of professional advisers -- patients and providers alike -- that will support "responsible regulation" of medical marijuana in the upcoming legislative session.

State senator Chris Romer is leading that charge; although he'd hoped to hold a town meeting on the topic this week, it looks like that will be postponed at least a week.

In the meantime, Apothecary of Colorado will open its doors today -- the same day that Denver will start collecting sales tax on the sale of medical marijuana.

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