Western Colorado town Parachute is opening its drive-through marijuana shop, believe to be the first in the state, this March. Tumbleweed Express, situated in a former car wash, received a business permit from the Board of Trustees of Parachute last week, reported by Glenwood Springs Post Independent Saturday.
Pot For Drive-Thru, Anyone?
The store also had to secure approval from the Marijuana Enforcement Division, which ruled that the store is prohibited from having anyone below age 21 on its premises — even if they are in a car’s back seat. The novel business is also required to have security, surveillance, and its marijuana hidden from outside the dispensary.
“As far as I can tell, we are not aware of this business model ever coming up before,” said the agency’s spokesperson Robert Goulding in an AP report.
Town manager Stuart McArthur dubbed the drive-through idea creative and innovative, with the building design allowing the products to be screened from external view. The dispensary is likely to violate one or more of the rules if it were to be set up like the usual drive-through fast food restaurant.
Reviving Downtrodden Economy
Parachute’s economy had taken quite a beating from a downturn in natural gas production. It would have been in deep trouble if it weren’t for legalizing recreational marijuana, said town mayor Roy McClung.
Marijuana made up almost 30 percent of the town’s sales tax earnings of a bit over $1 million in 2016, according to the mayor.
“In December 2016 … 26.8 percent of the town’s sale tax for the month was from the sale of recreational marijuana,” McArthur wrote in a memo to Parachute’s Board of Trustees.
Officials foresee that an upswing in marijuana business could benefit other businesses, where travelers dropping by town to get the goods are also likely to patronize restaurants and other stores.
Across the state, marijuana sales provided almost $200 million in taxes and other fees last year.
Marijuana currently has a federal classification of Schedule 1 drug, which means no accepted medical benefit along with a high likelihood of abuse. In 2012, marijuana was legally recognized for recreational purposes in people over age 18 in a few states that included Colorado and Washington. Since then, the impact of the legalization has remained a huge topic of debate.
A study in January, for instance, pointed out that while there is a likely change in its perceived harm, there’s also a climb in the usage of the drug for recreational use among adolescents in Washington post-legalization. In Colorado, on the other hand, there’s no substantial change seen in usage and perceived harmfulness among teens.
Separate research saw that the number of young Colorado children ending up in the emergency room after accidental ingestion of pot-laced goodies spiked since 2014. The sharp increase was seen in kids younger than 10 falling ill after being exposed to pot from edibles like cannabis-laced cookies and brownies.
Medical marijuana, on the other hand, is receiving much buzz around its potential health benefits in recent years. A 400-page analysis released Jan. 12, the largest report to date on the matter, made at least 100 conclusions on marijuana’s health effects, including seeing enough evidence of cannabis use for chronic pain treatment.