Driving into Denver after the passage of Colorado’s Amendment 64, regarding the use and regulation of marijuana, motorists often come across a “green mile,” where marijuana dispensaries, advertisements and general weed imagery extend down a massive thoroughfare.
Coming into Palisade, Grand Valley’s eastern entrance, you’ll will see orchards, vineyards, and a bucolic downtown where Grand Valley’s only medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries, Colorado Alternative Health Care, and Colorado Weedery are located. That is, until later this winter when Happy Camper Cannabis, Palisade’s second recreational marijuana dispensary opens.
When Colleen Scanlon-Maynard, vice president of sales and market development for Happy Camper first proposed the business idea to the Palisade Board of Trustees, she showed them a photo of Denver’s “green mile,” saying, “You don’t want that.”
Happy Camper also operates a store in Bailey, Colorado. Scanlon is part-owner of both the shop in Bailey, and the one opening in Palisade.
In the fall of 2017, the town of Palisade opened up applications for two new retail marijuana licenses. Fourteen businesses participated in a lottery style selection. Happy Camper and another company were chosen to submit their proposals to the state to open a shop. So far, Happy Camper has followed through.
Mesa County banned medical marijuana dispensaries in 2011, and subsequently banned recreational marijuana dispensaries before Amendment 64 passed in 2012. Since then, the only dispensaries in the Grand Valley have been located in Palisade, which has issued selective individual business licenses. The Weedery opened in the fall of 2017.
The new recreational Happy Camper marijuana dispensary, at 1041 N. River Road will have a gathering area out front, greenhouses and a production facility. Scanlon highlights that aside from being a storefront dispensary, the company produces marijuana concentrates. “We want to become the high-end boutique,” Scanlon says.
Employees receive weekly education on the marijuana products to help customers experience a profound experience, Scanlon says. “You can feel confident coming in, because we’ll help you.” she says. People who know exactly what they want can expect quick service, she adds.
Happy Camper expects to appeal to the burgeoning outdoor recreation industry in the Grand Valley, where hiking, mountain biking and rafting nearby rivers are popular activities. The shop will have a fire pit out front with places to sit, and tools available for people to work on their bikes. Scanlon says she hopes it can be a fun gathering area. “You can’t use product there, but you’re welcome to sit and rest,” Scanlon says.
The Weedery, 125 Peach Avenue, unit C, is located near the town’s center, not far from Interstate-70, whereas Happy Camper will be located a little further from downtown.
According to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel newspaper, Palisade made $130,000 in revenue off the excise tax levied on Colorado Weedery since it opened last fall. The town rang in 2018 with a $10,000 surplus, and a planned increase of $500,000 in revenue for the year.
Tax revenue from a second dispensary will increase the town’s coffers even more. But don’t expect this picturesque western Colorado town to grow its own “green mile.” Palisade “can be a leader in how to bring it in and have it be a compliment to the city,” Scanlon says.
Sean Dickman, a bartender at the Palisade Café, in downtown Palisade, welcomes the additional dispensary. “Personally, I’ve always been a fan of having the most options,” Dickman says. Visitors to the town often come in asking where they can find the dispensary, and soon he will have more than one place to send them.