Boulder is known as one of the most progressive cities in Colorado, perhaps even in the United States. It has been on the forefront of liberal movements since the early 1960s, when the city saw a large immigration of hippies. Their city council was the first in Colorado to prohibit sexual preference-based discrimination in 1974, and Boulder was the second city in the country to issue a same-sex marriage license in 1975.
Therefore, it was anticipated that the city would be prime real estate for medical marijuana dispensaries when Colorado voted to legalize medicinal marijuana. Boulder officials seem to be well-aware of this fact, and are enacting stringent standards on dispensaries. The city has denied approximately 34% of the applications they’ve received by hopeful cannabis entrepreneurs. This is contrasting with the state’s rate, which is only rejecting about 10% of applicants.
To become a licensed dispensary, cultivator or artisan of cannabis goods, you must have your application approved at both the state and local levels. Julie Postlethwait, of the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division, suggests that the reason for the high state approval rate can be accredited to the high fees required by the state.
“These people know if they’re going to make it, so while there are going to be a few who try, the majority didn’t pay the fees.” Essentially, the initial fees required by the state weed out the people who are not serious, or might not have the funding necessary to successfully begin an operation. This makes the existing applications of a higher quality than otherwise, and more likely to be accepted.
Currently, the vast majority of denied licenses are due to financial difficulties within the businesses. There are multiple inspections, background checks and applications required, all of which could be prohibitively costly to hopeful vendors. Dispensaries who have been denied by a municipality can still apply to other locales within Colorado. If the city keeps up the anti-dispensary stand, even the presence of the University of Colorado, named one of the top five marijuana-friendly colleges in the US and home to yearly “420 smoke-out” events, may not prevent a massive exodus of businesses.
As long as Boulder remains a liberal haven, the cannabis market there will be heavily competitive. Whether Boulder’s motives are due to the volume of applications, or a perceived necessity for higher quality control remains uncertain. Perhaps the argument could be made that the strict regulations may stifle competition, however they could also provide a consistent, high-quality market for buyers to indulge in.
By: Marijuana News