'...Boulder, ... the number of dispensaries [marijuana shops]... is larger than the number of Starbucks and liquor stores combined'

Published on: 7/2/2010

Since Colorado legalized medical marijuana, the New York Times reports, “Hundreds of dispensaries popped up and a startling number of residents turned out to be in ‘severe pain,’ the most popular of eight conditions that can be treated legally with the once-demonized weed. More than 80,000 people here now have medical marijuana certificates, which are essentially
prescriptions, and for months new enrollees have signed up at a rate of roughly 1,000 a day.”

At dispensaries, so-called budtenders sell marijuana out of glass cases with names like Jack the Ripper and Blue Skunk, so powerful that one seller states matter of factly, “it goes right to your brain.”

You can buy all sorts of pot. There are pot cookies, pot fudge, pot butter, pot candy bars, pot muffins, pot coffee and pot ice cream.

One dispensary is operated by a self-proclaimed ““three-time convicted felon for possession of marijuana with intent to sell.”

Getting medical marijuana is easy. Just claim you’re suffering from insomnia or menstrual cramps. An exam takes about 3-5 minutes.

The New York Times interviewed Dr. James Boland.  Dr. Boland has an office just outside Boulder:

“In one year alone, working just three days a week at Relaxed Clarity, he’s seen 7,000 patients, each paying an average of $150 for a visit. He takes out a calculator and does some quick arithmetic. That’s more than $1 million, grossed in 12 months.

‘There’s no waiting for an insurance company to pay you a fraction of what you billed,’ Dr. Boland says. ‘It’s just boom, you know, cash on the spot. So you can make a significant amount of money doing this’.”

With business so easy and lucrative, let’s be realistic. How many patients is Dr. Boland going to turn away?

Medical marijuana has turned into a bureaucratic nightmare. Because Colorado is the first state to attempt to fully regulate its for-profit marijuana trade, the state’s Department of Revenue has been working for several months on new rules and regulations.

Read more in the New York Times. 

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Wisconsin? I don’t think so. 


One of the victories during the 2009-10 Wisconsin general legislative session was the defeat of medical marijuana legislation. The Senate Health Committee that I served on considered the bill that I believe posed too many problems. Thank goodness the bill didn’t go very far. It died when the session ended.

Earlier this year, the Associated Press reported, “Patients, growers and clinics in some of the 14 states that allow medical marijuana are falling victim to robberies, home invasions, shootings and even murders at the hands of pot thieves. Across the country there have been dozens of cases in recent months alone. The issue received more attention after a prominent medical marijuana activist in Seattle nearly killed a robber in a shootout - the eighth time thieves had targeted his pot-growing operation.”

Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996. Activists are now seeking legalization for all California residents. El Cerrito, California Police Chief Scott Kirkland calls the idea “dangerous.”

“It's naive to think decriminalization will take care of the problem,” Chief Kirkland told the Oakland Tribune last month. 

Chief Kirkland has followed and written extensively about medical marijuana problems in California. During 2006, he gave a comprehensive presentation to the California Police Chiefs Association documenting crimes associated with medical marijuana. He wrote:

With few exceptions, agencies contacted stated that they felt that the crimes related to Medical Marijuana Dispensaries were under reported, if reported at all. Confidential Informants have provided information that these additional crimes (Robberies, Assaults and Burglaries involving Marijuana or large amounts of cash) are not reported so as to not draw additional Law Enforcement and Media scrutiny to this very lucrative trade. This is not unlike the thought processes employed by Organized Crime as well as street gangs here in California.

Another area of importance is the possession of firearms in conjunction with large quantities of cash and marijuana. Those who have the money and drugs want to keep them and arm themselves to prevent robberies. Those who wish to relieve those in possession of cash and drugs use firearms and other deadly weapons to accomplish their task. When speaking to those involved in the drug trade, they will tell you violence and greed are ‘all just part of the game.’


We have learned that what was intended as ‘Compassionate use’ has turned into an unregulated multi-million dollar cash and carry industry. There appears to be little or no controls in place to govern the issuance of ‘medical recommendations’ from doctors, the cultivation and transportation of marijuana to the dispensaries, as well as the operation of the dispensaries themselves.”