Dispensary owners had to pass one hurdle Thursday, by submitting the proper paperwork to keep their shops open.
Thursday's registration deadline was based on the local level. On Aug. 1, dispensary owners will have to submit their state registration information. It could cost anywhere from $7,500 to $18,000.
Because of the high cost, the Department of Revenue believes half of the dispensary shops statewide will close down.
Ryan Vincent and his buddy J.J. Walker own the Health Center THC on South Colorado Boulevard in Denver. Over the last few days, they have been bogged down with paperwork for the July 1 local registration deadline.
"It was a nightmare," Vincent said.
The forms included a lot of requirements they never had to deal with before.
"Literally everything that we were planning on doing within the next year had to be done yesterday," Vincent said.
"The term I've learned a lot lately is 'shotgun wedding,'" Walker added.
Since they purchased their marijuana from a grower before and the new law says they have to grow 70 percent of it on their own now, they had two options. They could either merge their business with a grower, or rent a warehouse and grow their own marijuana. They decided on the warehouse.
"It has become kind of the Wild West," Mark Couch with the Department of Revenue said.
While the July 1 hurdle may have been a headache for dispensary owners, Couch says the state deadline on Aug. 1 will be even more difficult.
"We're going to look at credit histories and sources of funds, peoples' credit histories - all sorts of deep background checks," Couch said.
The state application is much larger than the local one.
"It's over 24 pages long for each of us," Vincent said. "It's the same type of application you have to have to open your own casino."
A total of 345 dispensaries owners filed their registration paperwork with the city of Denver by July 1.
Despite the difficult work behind it, Vincent and Walker believe the new rules will be a good thing for medical marijuana dispensary owners.
"We can control our supply line now, so it does make sense for the state to do this. It was just hard to do it on this timeline," Vincent said.
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