Retail marijuana shop opens in Carbondale today |

Retail marijuana shop opens in Carbondale today

John Colson

CARBONDALE — The first retail marijuana shop in this part of Colorado was scheduled to open today at 9 a.m., following approval Tuesday night by the town’s Board of Trustees of a recreational marijuana business license for the Doctor’s Garden store at 580 Main St., on the third floor above Mi Casita restaurant.

The trustees voted unanimously to grant the business license to James Leonard, one of three partners in the business.

Leonard said he plans to have a security guard on the premises to keep things orderly and check the identification of any customers that show up, and added that he is hoping there will be “a small police presence” available for any unexpected difficulties.

“I’m elated,” said Leonard afterward about the approval. “I’m ecstatic.”

He noted he had been working on the issue for three years, including handing out literature last November to voters, urging them to vote for Amendment 64 to the state’s constitution, which the state’s voters approved overwhelmingly last year and which legalized the use, cultivation and sale of pot-related products for anyone over 21.

Leonard still must go before the town’s planning and zoning commission on Thursday for a hearing on his proposed expansion of the store’s existing medical marijuana cultivation facility to include recreational marijuana.

In a public hearing before the trustees, Leonard revealed that a mix-up with state regulators about his security-camera setup will mean shutting down his existing medical marijuana sales for a period while he brings his camera setup into compliance with state regulations.

He said he expects that opening his store to recreational pot shoppers will be a boost to his medical marijuana business, once it reopens, and predicted that marijuana tourists will be a big part of his clientele. He said he already has been deluged with calls from all over the U.S. from people interested in coming here to buy pot legally for the first time in their lives.

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