Colorado marked a new marijuana milestone Tuesday when it became the first state to begin taking applications from people wanting to open legal recreational-marijuana stores. The first applicants arrived at the Marijuana Enforcement Division’s offices south of downtown Denver shortly before 9 a.m., carrying heavy boxes and bulging binders. Just after 9, Andy Williams, the owner of the Medicine Man medical-marijuana dispensary, stepped into an office conference room to become one of the first to submit an application.
“We’re excited,” he said. “Some folks are afraid to be first, but we welcome it.”
Unlike three years ago — when the state’s first medical-marijuana business applicants crowded into licensing offices applications this time were submitted by appointment only.
As of midday Tuesday, the state had accepted 23 applications from people wanting to open recreational-marijuana stores, growing facilities and infused-products operations. A total of 99 appointments had been scheduled, a number that is expected to increase.
All the available appointments for Tuesday and Wednesday have been booked, said John Seckman, the agent in charge of licensing and background checks for the Marijuana Enforcement Division, or MED. The orderly process — MED officials said they learned from past licensing chaos — was partly the result of planning and partly that until next July, only people who already own a medical-marijuana dispensary can apply to open a recreational store, creating a smaller pool of potential applicants.
All businesses whose applications are accepted in October will receive a decision by Jan. 1, the first day recreational-marijuana stores can open in Colorado, said MED spokeswoman Julie Postlethwait.
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