Medical marijuana patients in Pueblo are looking for alternative sources for medication now that the downtown dispensary, Medimar Ministry, was shut down. When the city forced the lone dispensary inside city limits to close its doors, it displaced some 500 patients who were using the center at the time.
Many of those patients say getting to the county is difficult and inconvenient for them, due to their medical conditions. Still, a few are making the hike to Pueblo West to get the relief they desire.
One of the few operating dispensaries in Pueblo County, Marisol Therapeutics in Pueblo West, is welcoming Medimar Ministry patients with open arms. Left without work Andrea Floyd, the former manager of Medimar Ministries Pueblo location, was hired by Marisol to run their Pueblo West location.
Now, they are trying to help the rest of Medimar's patients. "We see familiar faces every day," says Floyd. This is because Marisol is honoring all promotional arrangements set up by Medimar with their patients. And it doesn't hurt to see a friendly face, says Floyd. "They're happy to see us here, they're happy to have a place that they can come to that feels a little bit like home," says Floyd.
Despite the welcome, open-door atmosphere Marisol has put in place for the displaced Medimar patients, there are still hurdles for many. Floyd says, many of the patients can't make the trip to Marisol for a variety of different reasons. Transportation is number one on the list.
Because there is no convenient public transit between Pueblo and Pueblo West, Marisol is trying to solve this problem by starting a shuttle service for patients who can't drive themselves. The service is still in the planning stages, but the initial concept would be to pick patients up at a designated spot in the city and ferry them back and forth.
In the meantime, patients who can make the trip are doing so, and the revenue is rolling in. "The city was pulling in tax revenue from the location where the patients were going, and now the county will get the benefit of that," explains Floyd.
Pueblo County is currently going through the process of developing regulations for medical marijuana operations. Currently, the county has 17 pre-applications for varying types of operations, including a few for medical marijuana centers. County Commissioners are expected to make a final decision on zoning regulations for these different types of operations at the beginning of August.
But this is just the first step in a long process that will eventually lead to fully licensed operations in the county. After the zoning regulations are done, the county will begin to tackle the much more restrictive and difficult issue of licensing regulations.
A final decision on licensing regulations is not expected to come about until sometime early next year.