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Dispensary Profile: Lotus Medical, Denver, CO

Posted By Carol Sonenklar On April 15, 2010 @ 11:35 am In News | 116 Comments


Lotus Medical, in the fashionable Lodo district of Denver, is a large, welcoming space with a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere. There are books to leaf through (and with books by both Bill Maher and Glenn Beck, a very egalitarian selection), photographs and a zen garden to contemplate and a massage-type chair for patrons to use.

“Lotus flowers only grow from the muck and the mire,” says Shawna Brown, the owner. “They are very hard to grow and have to fight their way to the sun and rain. It seemed an apt analogy for the new medical marijuana business to me. So that’s why I named the dispensary Lotus Medical.”

Brown, along with her boyfriend, Eric Santos, was working in real estate until the economy forced them out. Shortly after, Eric saw a doctor for gout. The doctor suggested medical marjiuana for the pain instead of pills, because gout is a chronic condition. The experience sparked interest in the fledgling medical marijuana industry and they began to visit some dispensaries in the city with an eye towards opening one.

“It was after one particularly bad place; I turned to Eric and said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ ” says Brown. “In every one, I felt uncomfortable as a woman. The employees all seemed stoned and no one was interested in truly helping anyone. That’s why I decided to  open a dispensary that has some class and where women feel comfortable.”

Brown says that she was also inspired by her father, who died in 2006 from hepatitis C, which was not then on the approved medical marijuana list.  He used medical marijuana, although it was very difficult to come by.

The grow room at Lotus is small and cozy and the dispensary carries about 20 different strains. One that catches the eye is a strain called, “Ed Rosenthal,” who, the budtender says, is one of the country’s leading authorities on marijuana. They also have medicated tea, tinctures and edibles.

Lotus Medical emphasizes all sorts of alternative therapies, including full body, trigger point and Chakra realignment-treatment massage, cranial sacral therapy, reflexology and tarot readings. Brown wants to be able to return to charity work and hopes that by making a name for herself in some of Denver’s downtown business organizations, she will dispel the myth that dispensaries are simply filled with people trying to “rake in the cash.”

“People are starting to realize that we’re not all greedy people and that we truly want to help others,” she says. “Right now, I’m working with a women’s breast cancer network and they’ve allowed me to be the only dispensary working with them. I really treasure being able to be in front of women and explain what we’re doing . We want to give them the information and the options of medical marijuana.”


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