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First retail marijuana shop approved in Larimer County

Larimer County Commissioners unanimously approved the county’s first retail marijuana shop Monday March 17.

Choice Organics located off Mulberry and I-25 has been a medical marijuana shop since 2011. Starting soon however, the store will sell both medical and retail marijuana.

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According to store owner Erica Freeman, they hope to open as a retail shop within the first week of April, but it depends upon when construction finishes.

The store will be a medical and retail dispensary which means by law the store must physically separate the two entities.

At Monday nights commissioner meeting, there was no public opposition made against the store and with all commissioners in agreement, the approval happened fast.

According to County Commissioner Steve Johnson, Choice Organics has had zero problems in the past as a medical dispensary. With all of the public hearings Larimer County conducted, Johnson said that the final approval was almost anticlimactic.

“We have had several public hearings … to listen to folks concerns and develop regulations that can meet everyone’s concerns and needs as best we can,” Johnson said. “I think that’s one of the reasons why we’ve had so little controversy around the adoptions here at the county.”

County Commissioner Lew Gaiter was publicly opposed to Amendment 64, but approved of the retail shop because they matched all necessary criteria that Amendment 64 added to the state constitution.

All commissioners commended the planning board staff who finalized a recommendation for the shop’s approval.

“A guy could spend 20 years following the Grateful Dead around and not know as much about marijuana as you do,” Commissioner Tom Donnelly joked to Michael Whitley, a member of the planning board.

According to Freeman, no one came the opening day of the medical dispensary in 2011. In comparison, Freeman said she’s interested to see what the retail shop will look like opening day. Until then Freeman said she is happy that the store was approved.

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“I feel good. I feel relived,” Freeman said.

Collegian City, State and National Editor Skyler Leonard can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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