A Few Years Ago, I Would Have Been a Criminal
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A Few Years Ago, I Would Have Been a Criminal
Posted by CN Staff on November 14, 2009 at 20:11:25 PT
By Erica Meltzer, Camera Staff Writer
Source: Daily Camera
Colorado -- With Tibetan art on the walls, a spacious sitting area with tasteful, modern couches, a small display of hand-blended herbal teas and salves, and complementary snacks and teas on a low table, there's little to indicate the Boulder Wellness Center is a marijuana dispensary. Just the unmistakable smell of cannabis and a magazine on the coffee table touting the latest research into medical applications for the drug.
When Ryan Hartman and Russel Wise started talking about opening a medical marijuana business, they wanted a place that would feel comfortable to people of all ages and backgrounds and where health was the focus. Instead of loud music and snowboarding videos on a flat-screen TV, there's a small library with titles on spirituality and alternative medicine, including marijuana. Underneath one of the coffee tables, there's a small basket of toys for patients' children. The marijuana is in a small room in the back, behind a door that's kept locked between patient visits. "This can help so many people," Hartman said. "It's cool to make money selling marijuana, but what's really great is helping people." Hartman smoked for fun as a teenager and didn't give much credence to the medical claims. Then his mother's boss and friend got cancer, and she approached him about getting marijuana to help with her nausea and pain. "It was eye-opening," he said. "The pills she was taking made her sicker, and the marijuana helped. My grandfather died of cancer, and I think how much easier the end of his life could have been if he had marijuana." Hartman didn't even realize marijuana was legal for medical use until a few months ago. He got his patient card (he has a back injury), started visiting other dispensaries, talked to a lawyer, talked to some friends and on Sept. 17, he opened the locally owned, family-operated Boulder Wellness Center. Brooke Wise, Russel Wise's wife, prepares the dispensaries' herbal teas, which can be taken by themselves or with a small amount of marijuana, as well as topical salves, tinctures and oils. Rebecca Diaz, Hartman's wife, runs the front desk. Hartman said during the first few weeks the dispensary was open, the patients mostly were younger people in their early 20s, but the patient base now is mostly people in their 50s and 60s. He doesn't advertise and prefers to let his business grow through word of mouth. Hartman said he's proud of the contributions he already makes to the local economy -- from the bottled water and snacks he buys to the chair masseuse who works at the wellness center. He wants to give to charitable causes as his business grows. After so many years in the underground, he said it's been an adjustment, even for him, to realize he runs a legitimate business. At first he was surprised when patients stopped by with their parents or co-workers while running a few errands. "A few years ago, I would have been a criminal," Hartman said. "Now I can call my mom and tell her I own my own business."Source: Daily Camera (Boulder, CO)Author: Erica Meltzer, Camera Staff WriterPublished: November 14, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Daily CameraWebsite: openforum dailycamera.comURL: Medical Marijuana Archives
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