Dispensary celebrates expansion with ribbon cutting

PALISADE, Colo. (KKCO) - The last medical marijuana dispensary in Mesa County may be shut down come this November but owners of the business say they're confident they'll be open for a long time to come, so they're expanding.

Executive Director of the Palisade Chamber of Commerce Kathy Fernandez says it's been a tough road for the last remaining medical marijuana dispensary in Mesa County.

"They have had to go through a lot of hurdles and jump through a lot of hoops,” says Fernandez.

The Chamber of Commerce is hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony for Colorado Alternative Health Care and it’s open to the public.

"Invite them to come in, see that we're a clean, professional environment and that this is the best way for this industry to move forward,” says Co-owner Desa Loughman.

She says regulating medical marijuana is key in keeping it off the black market.

"It ensures a better quality product for the patients and that's what's most important. Good product that's tested by the state, monitored and regulated by the state,” explains Loughman.

Loughman adds keeping the dispensary open will help boost Palisade's economy.

"We create revenue and jobs and are beneficial to the local community,” says Loughman.

Something Fernandez fully agrees with.

"Every sale that they would have eventually is going to have a special assessment tax on it. It's really going to pump up the economy of Palisade and that's what we're all about,” says Fernandez.

Diane Cox from the anti-pot group Safe and Healthy Mesa County, who was also instrumental in getting the measure on the November ballot, says the Palisade economy will suffer.

"For every dollar of revenue these sorts of businesses generates, it costs $9 to the tax payers and social services,” says Cox.

Still Loughman is confident they will come out on top this November.

"We're very optimistic about winning. We feel like we have a lot of support,” says Loughman.

Loughman urges anyone to come down and view the dispensary as she will be giving tours to explain the tight regulation they must adhere to and what they hope to offer in the future.

The ribbon cutting ceremony happens tomorrow night at 5:30.

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