“We’re proud of our bud,” explains Mike Okada, general retail manager of the new Native Roots dispensary in Longmont. He’s standing in the dispensing room of the shop, inside a small gray house on South Sunset across the street from Izaak Walton Park. They opened on Oct. 13.
Technically, Native Roots isn’t in Longmont but rather surrounded by the city. The business is in unincorporated Boulder County which means they can operate here despite Longmont incorporating a moratorium on medicinal and recreational marijuana shops in 2013.
The city of Longmont did not return calls about this issue.
The new shop plans to become a recreational retail center in 2015, Okada said.
Edible medical marijuana for sale at Native Roots. (Lewis Geyer / Longmont Times-Call)
The shop sells all the usual strains of marijuana in typical plant form. It also offers hand creams, lotions, soaps, bath oils, mouth drops, candy bars, soda, sports drinks and joints. It also sells glassware for smoking and a variety of clothing.
“A lot of our products don’t get you high,” said budtender Amanda Herman.
Many of the products are strictly therapeutic and don’t contain the necessary ingredients for someone to actually get stoned, she explained.
“This is a unique location,” said Stevie Basko, operations director for Native Roots which has three other locations in Colorado (Denver, Boulder and Vail). “We’ve only had positive feedback here… people don’t need to drive to Boulder or Denver now.”
That positive feedback may change a bit, when Native Roots goes recreational.
Pockets of pot
“There are a few enclaves,” points out Boulder County spokesperson Gabi Boerkircher in discussing the small pockets within Longmont that are unincorporated. “They pay Boulder County taxes, and they follow county rules.”
Those tax revenues should be rising because sales certainly are.
Both recreational and medical marijuana sales in Colorado increased by more than 10 percent from July to August, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue.
In August, customers purchased more than $33 million in recreational cannabis, up from $29.7 million in July. In addition consumers bought more than $32.2 million in medical marijuana in August, an increase from $28.9 million in July.
Since Jan. 1, Colorado has raked in more than $45 million in taxes, licenses and fees for recreational and medical marijuana.
“The train has left the station, and there is no stopping it now,” Basko said. She doesn’t expect any issues with becoming a recreational store next year. “It’s all highly organized and regulated.”
She’s also eager to become more accepted by the people of Longmont. She believes there is still a stigma attached to her line of work. “We are trying to be a part of this community,” she said. “We’ll be doing a canned food drive soon, and we’re wanting to support the local charities here.”
Contact Times-Call staff writer Vince Winkel at 303-684-5291 or [email protected]
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