Mitch and Eva Woolhiser, founders of Northern Lights Natural Rx in Edgewater, pose behind the counter of their medical marijuana dispensary on April 8, 2010. (Simon Moya-Smith, YourHub file photo)

Edgewater to host Jefferson County’s first recreational pot sales

EDGEWATER —Edgewater is making history this week as the first city in Jefferson County to allow the retail sale of recreational marijuana.

Two medical dispensaries — Northern Lights Cannabis Co. and Bud Med Health Centers — planned to open to retail customers Jan. 1, the first day for sales statewide.

The city’s other two dispensaries have also applied for recreational permits, according to the city clerk. Their opening dates have yet to be determined.

“To be here at this moment is amazing,” said Eva Woolhiser, co-owner of Northern Lights Cannabis, 2045 Sheridan Blvd. “I want this to succeed so much. The world is watching.”

“We’re under the microscope,” said Mitch Woolhiser, her husband and business partner. “We’re ready.”

The Woolhisers planned to open their store at 8 a.m. Jan. 1 for their first recreational sales.

“We want to be open for that historic event,” Mitch Woolhiser said. “Even if I have to be the first customer, I will be.”

Edgewater is one of only three communities in Jefferson County that have said they will allow recreational pot businesses.

In Wheat Ridge, two dispensaries have applied for permits and could open to recreational customers by late January or early February, according to their owner.

The town of Mountain View could also allow its two existing dispensaries to add a recreational component, but not before late January, said Linda Jackson, the town clerk and treasurer.

Local regulations in all three communities should prevent an explosion of new stores, however.

Edgewater City Manager HJ Stalf said city zoning requirements will in all likelihood permit a maximum of five marijuana stores in Edgewater. There are four dispensaries today, all of which have already applied for recreational co-location.

A fifth dispensary/recreational store, proposed for 6020 W. 20th Ave., has already initiated the city planning process, he said.

“We believe that would be the final opportunity in Edgewater due to the land-use restrictions,” Stalf said.

The other dispensaries are: Bud Med, 2517 Sheridan Blvd.; Greenwerkz, 5840 W. 25th Ave.; and New Age Medical, 2553 Sheridan Blvd.

Under Edgewater’s regulations, new pot businesses must be at least 500 feet from schools, childcare facilities and halfway houses, as well as other marijuana businesses.

Co-location of medical and recreational is allowed. Cultivation and product manufacturing facilities, however, can open in town only if under common ownership with a marijuana store also in Edgewater.

Mayor Bonnie McNulty said the city’s goal was to create “appropriate” but “nonjudgmental” rules.

“There are a lot of communities that have voted it out totally. That’s their community’s values and that’s OK,” McNulty said. “Our community was OK with it.”

“The business will be here,” she added. “We’ll get sales tax off of that, while other communities won’t.”

In 2012, 70.8 percent of Edgewater voters approved the constitutional amendment that legalized the possession and sale of marijuana for adults 21 or older, according to City Clerk Beth Hedberg.

Jefferson County, as a whole, approved Amendment 64 by a much narrower margin, 54.2 percent to 45.8 percent, according to official election results.

“We had more attention paid and more discussion about smoking cigarettes on the street than we did about marijuana,” McNulty said.

Northern Lights has been in Edgewater since 2010, its owners “lucking” into the shopping center on Sheridan Boulevard after a long search for a location.

Before getting into the cannabis business, Mitch Woolhiser was a software developer and holds a master’s degree in business administration. Eva Woolhiser was a dental hygienist. Both were medical marijuana patients.

“I can’t say enough good things about Edgewater,” Mitch Woolhiser said. “They’re the nicest folks.”

“The city has been very welcoming,” Eva Woolhiser said.

The city of Lakewood, on the other hand, is taking a wait-and-see approach.

The Lakewood City Council in October approved a moratorium on all Amendment 64 businesses through Feb. 1, 2015.

Mayor Bob Murphy said the council will have to take the issue up again in 2014, but the exact timing of that discussion has yet to be determined.

New council officers will be chosen Jan. 13 and the council’s annual planning session is at the end of January, he said.

“I believe we took the right approach by waiting,” Murphy said in an e-mail. “It will give council, staff and the community time to evaluate the outcomes of policies in neighboring cities, and consider both the unforeseen and unintended consequences of those policies.”

Emilie Rusch: 303-954-2457, or

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