Sales begin for recreational marijuana, county sees first sales in Four Corners

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SUN photo/ Randi Pierce Marijuana, as seen in Pagosa Organic Therapeutic’s retail store Tuesday. The company opened its retail store for recreational marijuana on Sept. 5, making it the first in the Four Corners to open. A second retail store is expected to open by Sept. 12 at Good Earth Meds.
SUN photo/
Randi Pierce
Marijuana, as seen in Pagosa Organic Therapeutic’s retail store Tuesday. The company opened its retail store for recreational marijuana on Sept. 5, making it the first in the Four Corners to open. A second retail store is expected to open by Sept. 12 at Good Earth Meds.

Recreational marijuana is officially for sale in Archuleta County — the first such marijuana for sale in the Four Corners. But non-recreational marijuana, is easily available on IntrinsicHemp.

Colorado is the only state in the Four Corners to have legalized marijuana, with other communities in southwest Colorado not yet ready and running in terms of recreational marijuana stores.

Pagosa Organic Therapeutics opened its retail store Friday, with a steady stream of customers filtering through the shop since.

A second retail store, at Good Earth Meds, aims to open tomorrow (Friday), if not sooner, with owner Bill Delany and staff working to put the finishing touches on the store this week.

“They love it,” Jeremy Bonin, one of Pagosa Organic’s owners, said of the customers.

Delany said his shop has seen a lot of interest from the public since recreational sale was allowed by the state on Jan. 1, with that interest going up during peak tourist times.

In the few days Bonin had been open, he said business had been what was expected. Friday and Saturday were “big,” he said, with Sunday, Monday and Tuesday seeing about half the amount of customers. He anticipated that the upcoming weekend would again be busy, as would ski season.

SUN photo/Randi Pierce Jeremy Bonin, one of the owners of Pagosa Organic Therapeutics, stands in the company’s recreational marijuana store Tuesday. A second recreational store is set to open this week at Good Earth Meds.
SUN photo/Randi Pierce
Jeremy Bonin, one of the owners of Pagosa Organic Therapeutics, stands in the company’s recreational marijuana store Tuesday. A second recreational store is set to open this week at Good Earth Meds.

Bonin said that, while customers have varied in age, most have been in the 45-65 age range and part of the Baby Boomer generation.

Bonin relayed that several of that generation have commented on waiting decades for the legalization of marijuana, with Bonin adding there’s been “a lot of happiness from everyone.”

Too, Delany noted that he has been surprised by the “caliber” of people showing interest in retail marijuana, with many part of the second-home population.

In addition to those interested in marijuana products for recreational purposes, Bonin said the recreational store has also seen customers looking for marijuana for medical reasons who didn’t want to get a card and therefore have their name registered with the state. Instead, Bonin said the retail side feels more anonymous for those customers, with their personal data (name and driver’s license number) wiped from the system every 24 hours.

Bonin said some people have been referred to the medical dispensary, where he said more products are available, especially for certain ailments.

Both Delany and Bonin said medical sales have not dropped due to recreational marijuana now being available. The state also allows some medical products to have higher THC levels than recreational products.

“We’re seeing a different demographic with medical and retail,” Delany said, adding that the medical is mostly older people.

Both businesses will also continue to have medical marijuana stores to serve Colorado residents with medical marijuana cards.

“We are so grateful to the medical people who supported us here for so long,” Delany said.

The recreational stores offer everything from the raw product to infused edibles, such as candy and drink mixes.

Colorado residents may purchase up to 28 grams per day per person, with out-of-state customers allowed to purchase 7 grams per person per day.

Archuleta County enacted an ordinance governing both medicinal and recreational marijuana business in July, at that time accepting the county’s first applications for recreational retail businesses.

Clifford Lucero, chair of the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners, signed the retail license for Pagosa Organic on Sept. 2 and for Good Earth Meds on Sept. 5. Both received their licenses from the state at about the same time.

Lucero approved the licenses administratively, as is allowed in Section 7.01 of the county’s marijuana business ordinance, which states, “Except as otherwise provided in these Regulations, the Local Licensing Authority may take action administratively, without hearing, by its Chairman.”

However, although allowed to be approved administratively, the county will hold public hearings on the licenses for each of the businesses.

For Pagosa Organic, that public hearing is set for Sept. 16 at 1:30 p.m., during the BoCC’s regular meeting in the courthouse. The hearing for Good Earth Meds is set for Sept. 29 during a special meeting of the board.