Medical marijuana shops predict an increase in sales when recreational pot becomes legal

Stores dividing to sell to recreational, medical

DENVER - Marijuana stores in Denver are predicting a boom in medical marijuana sales after recreational pot becomes legal January 1.

At Ganja Gourmet, owner Steve Horwitz is scrambling to divide his store in two, transitioning from a single medical marijuana shop to one that can sell both medical and recreational pot.

The law says those two sides of the business have to be separated. The medical area has to have its own entrances and different security.

"These are sliding doors because it's going to be crowded in here," said Horwitz while giving a tour to 7NEWS reporter Jaclyn Allen. "We are building a wall from here to there."

Horwitz believes the investment will pay off once people visiting pot shops for the first time see the difference in sales taxes -- about 30 percent for recreational marijuana vs. less than 8 for medical.

"So, they get a lot of great stuff for $300," said Horwitz. "Then, they're going to pay $90 in tax, and they're going to say to themselves, 'Gee, if I had a medical card, I would only have $25 in tax.'"

And instead of the one ounce limit for Colorado residents, medical patients can buy two ounces.

"Also, the retail customer can only buy 100 mg edibles," said Horwitz. "Medicinal there's no a limit -- we have butter that's 1,000 mg."

So, his business is under construction to comply with the law but he is betting people who visit when pot becomes legal might find a medical reason to keep coming back.

Like many Denver shops, Ganja Gourmet is still waiting for its retail license. Horwitz does not expect to have that side of the business open until the first week of February.