Colorado's "Walmart of Weed" Comes to Telluride; Competitors Concerned


Is it too much of a good thing? The Colorado ski resort town of Telluride already has four pot shops. Now, a Denver-based chain is moving in, and the existing marijuana retailers aren't happy. 

It's a mark of progress of sorts: The state has moved beyond fighting marijuana legalization; now the fights are about who has the opportunity to rake in big bucks from selling it.   

As the Summit Daily reported, the Green Dragon chain of pot shops has 10 stores, including ones in the ski towns of Aspen, Breckenridge, and Glenwood Springs. Green Dragon sells only recreational weed and it sells it cheap: $5 a gram. 

That's causing much wailing and gnashing of teeth among the Telluride competition, with one store manager calling the chain "the Walmart of Weed" and another calling it "the Starbucks of marijuana." The competitors complain that Green Dragon is undercutting them and, more controversially, "that those with medical needs will be hurt by this price-cutting." 

Green Dragon's imminent arrival also has some existing pot shops calling for new rules to regulate marijuana sales. Currently in Telluride, there are no caps on pot shop numbers and no special zoning requirements, such as limiting them to industrial areas. But now there is talk about caps and even banning chain pot shops. 

Such is life in the post-pot prohibition era. In states where it is legal, marijuana moves from the crime section to the business pages. And that's good for everybody—except, perhaps, pot shop owners facing tough competition. 

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