Pot shop sort of open in Aspen


Marijuana was sold legally for the first time in Aspen on Monday, at a new downtown dispensary.

The dispensary — running under the working title Cooper Street Apothecary — opened yesterday, sort of. The shop’s operator, who declined to provide his name, is doing business on an appointment-only basis for now, as he remodels the space at 520 E. Cooper Avenue. It is slated to open for walk-ins next month.

The apothecary got its first patient — and sold its first bag of weed — yesterday morning.

The space was formerly occupied by the Aspen Comedy Club and, before that, Texas Red’s restaurant. It is currently zoned as retail space.

“There are a lot of people who don’t even know this is legal in Colorado and they are amazed by what we’re doing here,” the shop’s co-owner said. “We want to do positive things for Aspen and we want to be an integral part of this community.”

He said the “soft” opening would allow them to take Aspen’s pulse and to begin educating locals about the ins and outs of medical marijuana.

“Even though they’re not open open, they are open,” said the shop’s attorney, Lauren Maytin. A press release from Maytin promised the dispensary would open its doors to the public after Labor Day.

The shop offers edible and smokeable marijuana, along with vaporizing equipment, oils, vitamins and souvenirs such as T-shirts. They also plan to help qualifying patients get registered as medical marijuana users, by referring them to doctors.

“We plan to offer or facilitate comprehensive access to health-related services such as nutrition counseling, addiction counseling, acupuncture, massage therapy and yoga,” the press release states.

Maytin has been working with the shop owners to ensure they comply with Colorado law. Voters approved legalizing medical marijuana statewide  in 2000.

She also discussed the location of the dispensary with city officials and police, she said.

“Everybody was very approving,” reported Maytin, a board member at the Colorado branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws who also represents a marijuana dispensary at the WIN Health Institute in Basalt that opened last week.

“This is a viable medicine that helps people get off of addictive and destructive medications,” Maytin said. “People need to understand that.”

To register as a medical marijuana patient, you must get a doctor to confirm that you have a debilitating health condition and obtain a medical marijuana certificate from the state Department of Public Health and Environment.