Feb 10, 2010 5:05 AM by John Romero
Medical Marijuana has become quite the hot topic in Southern Colorado as both sides argue over how the industry should be treated. The center of these discussions primarily focus on the dispensaries. Thomas Choi owns the Pure Medical dispensary in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs. He invited News First 5 in for an unprecedented look into the business of bud.
When you first enter the facility it's from a locked door. "It's an automated striker and you're only allowed in through the receptionist buzzing you in." explains Choi, "This is the first entry door and we do also have a second entry door." After showing the receptionist their id and mmj card the patient is then buzzed through a second door and into the facility.
At first glance it looks like a coffee shop. But instead of lattes and scones there are about 40 different strands of medical marijuana meant to treat everything from headaches to nausea for cancer patients. Choi says every patient is treated one on one. "It's hands on consultations to see where they're coming from so I can provide the best medication for that specific reason." he says.
They also grow the cannabis on-site. Choi says it's to educate the patients on exactly what they're consuming. For him the more open to the community he can be the better. "I do feel I should be open and I should let people know about the legitimate business we are running." he explains, "It's not selling on the street, it's not like that."
But as Choi's business begins to flourish not everyone is happy about the dispensaries. Ann Devere lives in the Brookwood neighborhood near Woodmen and Academy. Devere says she and others are upset about a new dispensary moving in where the old Mission Inn restaurant.
"We're concerned about the devaluation of our property values in addition to what is happening with the Woodmen and Academy road project that we know already has taken a dip in our property values." she says. Devere says while the neighborhood realizes there's a need for medical marijuana, she's angry they were never consulted about the business moving in.
Choi is only one of hundreds of dispensary owners in Colorado. He says his business is just as legitimate as any other and he sees the medical marijuana trend as a sign of the times. "It is part of our culture now." he says, "Hopefully people will now understand the effects the cannabis has on each person and hopefully turn them around."