The opening of a new dispensary in Denver isn’t necessarily national news, although it is noteworthy due to the fact that both the city and county of Denver aren’t currently accepting applications for cannabis retail locations of any type. Simply Pure, which opened in mid-September near downtown in the Highlands, purchased its licenses from the Releaf Center, which closed in 2014. The dispensary sells a limited selection of cannabis flowers, but specializes in organic edibles and concentrates.
With more dispensaries than McDonald’s and Starbucks locations combined, the Mile High City has definitely embraced the cannabis culture with an open-market approach to cultivation and dispensing regulations, allowing a wide variety of products and retailers to duke it out in the marketplace. Such an environment allows robust competition that encourages high quality levels and spurs demand for niche products and services that serve patients with special needs or connoisseurs seeking exceptional or rare cannabis products.
Simply Pure is a good example of the type of cannabis retail specialization that is becoming increasingly popular among Denver’s residents and tourists. Owners Scott Durrah and Wanda James previously owned and managed the Denver Apothecary — which focused on organic edibles — until 2012, when it was forced to close due to what James said was a market that wasn’t interested in its particular organic products. Said James:
“Back then, everybody was focusing on selling the cheapest and most potent edibles. When the market changed to potent edibles, the market for organic edibles just wasn’t there.”
Fast forward three years, during which a dynamic and rapidly growing recreational market has emerged in Denver, fueled not only by in-state consumers, but also by canna-tourism and the fact that Colorado allows those from out-of-state to purchase up to a quarter ounce of cannabis per day. Driven partly by recreational demand, cannabis edibles of all varieties are now considerably more common than in 2012. In fact, according to the Marijuana Enforcement Division in Colorado, about five million edibles were sold in the state in 2014 alone, with 2015 expected to yield even bigger numbers.
Co-owner Scott Durrah, who is also head chef at Jezebel’s Southern Bistro and Bar, will direct the in-house production of Simply Pure’s cannabis-infused foods and baked goods. In addition to its own products, the new dispensary will sell popular Denver-based brands such as Dixie and Viola Extracts. Durrah said:
“I’m a cannabis chef, but I also have a bad back, so I consume it daily, whether it’s through food or flower.”
Photo credit: BusinessDen