5:20pm

Wed January 15, 2014
Recreational Marijuana

"Doctor’s Garden" Sprouts Retail Pot in Carbondale

Some people waited over two hours before the Doctor’s Garden opened in Carbondale, Wednesday, to make the first purchases of legal retail marijuana in the Roaring Fork Valley. Aspen Public Radio’s Rob St. Mary was there.

Even those who arrived on time for the nine o-clock opening still had to wait a half-hour in the cold as the Doctor’s Garden staff put last minute signage and packaging in place.  These were required to make the recreational sales legal. Among the dozen or so customers waiting in the single-digit weather was Marc Horowitz. The Moab, Utah resident said he was on vacation with his wife and his mother when they decided to stop by the Carbondale shop… the closet one to his home in Utah. Horowitz said he probably wouldn’t actually buy any pot…he just wanted to bask in the moment.

Inside "The Bud Room" at the "Doctor's Garden" on Wednesday January 15th, 2014
Credit Rob St. Mary

“You know… the freedom that America is supposed to represent. It feels like the end of a prohibition. Medical marijuana might be a step in that direction but this is like the true freedom… and for godsake… America has a lot of problems and marijuana is not one of them.”

Once inside, customers had their IDs checked and photo-copied to verify they were at least 21 years of age. Then, five at a time they were ushered into “the bud room” – a glassed in sales area featuring showcases containing various jars of marijuana, packaged edibles and paraphernalia.

Robert Pinchuck co-owns Doctor’s Garden. He said a lot of “I’s” have been dotted and “T’s” crossed to get to this day.

“It’s been a long process… there’s been a lot of paperwork… inches and inches of paperwork to fill out. Meetings downtown in Denver… several meetings… redoing the background checks and making sure we have been compliant and we have been compliant since we opened.”

For Doctor’s Garden to go retail, it has had to shut down the medical end of the business temporarily while renovations are made to meet new legal guidelines.  Still, Pinchuck said it’s worth the hassles to be the first in the Valley.

“It’s absolutely worth it. I think we are making history here and we are giving people the right to participate in recreational marijuana use and it’s been worth every moment of it.”

"Doctor's Garden" co-owner James Leonard sells recreational marijuana to a customer on Wednesday January 15th, 2014
Credit Rob St. Mary

Moab’s Marc Horowitz seemed to agree… as spirits were high among those waiting in line outside the Carbondale shop on that cold, Wednesday morning.

“I like the jovial feeling here, everybody is laughing agreeably, you know. What does that say? It says something, I say.”