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Dispensary Profile: Metro Cannabis, Denver, Colorado

Posted By Carol Sonenklar On February 1, 2010 @ 4:04 pm In News | No Comments

 Metro Cannabis is located in an unassuming office strip that is primarily occupied by doctors. The “M C, Inc. ” on the outside sign is the only clue to its existence.

Inside, the office is comfortable and professional and could easily be mistaken for a doctor’s office – except for the ATM machine in the corner, the list of “today’s strains” near the door and a large image of a marijuana plant under the name of the establishment.

 Owner Olga Skuratovich injects a bit of glamour into the unpretentious clinic with her French twist and high heels. She started Metro Cannabis about a year and a half ago. As a social worker working with elderly, disabled and blind clients, she saw first-hand the benefits of medical marijuana (even before it was legal) and realized the demand for it.

“I wanted to open a place that was like a medical facility or a pharmacy,” she says. “Not a pot shop. That’s offensive.”

Metro Cannabis, which has been open for about a year and a half, has already outgrown its original location in the same complex and now occupies a space of nine rooms: three private dispensing rooms (two now operational), a clone room, a massage room, a consulting room, a vendor room, the main office and an employee lounge. In addition to 50 different strains of marijuana, Metro Cannabis also sells baked goods (cookies, candy, canna-butter and more), tinctures, clones and plants (10 to 20 different strains at any given point).

The clinic offers a membership plan to patients who list it as their primary caregivers, a plan which includes a discount. Ounces start at $225 for members and $250 for non-members. Membrs never pay more than $59 for top-shelf indoor strains. 

 Skuratovich says the clinic sees anywhere from 30 to 70 people each day and that the patients come from all walks of life.

She is also planning to have more offerings: acupuncture, massage therapy and perhaps even a nutritionist. But the constant shifts in the political and regulatory landscape pose a problem. 

“Things are changing so frequently, it’s hard to expand our business,” she says. “We constantly have to stay ahead of the newest regulations. Right now, the city of Denver is requiring us to get an additional license to sell medical marijuana — aside from the city and state sales tax licenses — as well as a business plan in order to get that license. We constantly worry about the business’s viability.”

Skuratovich, whose husband also owns a medical marijuana dispensary, Canna-Mart, in another area of Denver, laments that the nature of the business has changed.

“It’s become cutthroat and very aggressive,” she says. “We have to have a lawyer on staff and the competition is unbelievable. We spend a lot of money on advertising.”

As far as regulating dispensaries to dampen the dizzying growth, she is ambivalent. She thinks that patients should be able to choose where and how to obtain their medicine and, from a business perspective, competition can be healthy, to a point.

“I believe that it is unreasonable to have a dispensary on every block or right next to each other, as it poses a conflict between dispensary owners, and makes them concentrate more on beating the competition instead of concentrating on every patients’ individual need and quality of care,” she explains. “So a restriction, for example, on how far one dispensary should be from another is reasonable, as long as it does not mean that an established operational business must be shut down on a technicality.”

 Metro Cannabis, 4101 E. Wesley Ave, Suite #1. Denver, Co 80222. Open 7 days a week from 11 am to 9 pm, no appointment necessary.


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