PALMER LAKE — Two dispensaries in Palmer Lake will begin selling recreational marijuana on Saturday, April 1st after voters approved the retail sale of marijuana by 55% last November.
Palmer Lake is the second municipality in El Paso County to legalize recreational marijuana after Manitou Springs. Alpine Essentials and Dead Flowers are the only two dispensaries in Palmer Lake and are the only two allowed to begin selling recreationally.
Melissa Woodward, the owner of Alpine Essentials, said the tax revenue from their sales will help the town immensely. Palmer Lake voters approved an additional 5% sales tax on recreational marijuana sales within the town.
"That's going directly to the town of Palmer Lake for use at their discretion. So if there's a need for infrastructure, it's going to go there. If there's a need in the police department, it's going to go there," said Woodward.
Robert Salvatori, the owner of Dead Flowers dispensary, said there is a market for recreational marijuana in Palmer Lake because of the town's location.
"Douglas County is dry. They have no medical or retail marijuana facilities. So you know, on our medical side I'd say about 70% of our business already comes from Douglas County. With Colorado Springs being medical only, we're kind of in the middle of a huge market on the recreational side," he said.
Since 2021, Colorado's marijuana industry has taken a hit. Data from the Colorado Department of Revenue shows overall marijuana sales have decreased by 20% from 2021 to 2022. Woodward said part of the reason for the decline is a drop in the cost of marijuana. The price of marijuana per pound has dropped by over 60% from January 2021 to April 2023.
"The prices have dropped pretty substantially as a result of a lot of new licenses coming online in 2021 as a result of the summer of 2020 being a very profitable year for marijuana," said Woodward.
Salvatori says another possibility for the decline in sales is that Colorado is no longer a travel destination to buy marijuana. Since the state legalized weed in 2012, four neighboring states have also passed laws for recreational or medical use. Oklahoma and Utah both legalized medical marijuana in 2018 while Arizona fully legalized weed in 2020 with New Mexico following suit in 2021.
Despite the drop in sales, the two dispensary owners said they are not concerned about jumping into the recreational world and said they are excited about the extra revenue that will be brought to Palmer Lake.
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