Marijuana Dispensary Opens On Loveland Main Street

Owners Hope To Nudge Medical Issue Into Mainstream

It's not often that a medical marijuana shop opens on main street Colorado but it happened Friday in Loveland.

Rich Present and Drew McNeil told 7NEWS they had planned to open their dispensary near a cancer treatment center close to the hospital, but a neighbor complained and the landlord backed out.

"The stereotype of medical marijuana is still out there," Present said. "We want to change that."

So Present and McNeil kept looking and eventually found a new spot on Cleveland Avenue across from the Safeway store.

"After we were turned down by a few other places in town, the man who owned the Circle Moon cafe came to the rescue with a wonderful building here," Present said. "It's just so relaxing. It has a great vibe."

The dispensary, called Nature's Medicine, also offers massage, aromatherapy, acupuncture and a variety of herbs and supplements. Several people came to the shop Friday to register.

Among them was Kirk Scramstad, who told 7NEWS he suffers a great deal of pain.

"I have degenerative disks on my back," Scramstad said.

When asked what the dispensary meant to him, it touched a raw emotion.

His voice faltering, Scramstad said, "It's important to me because I'm sick and tired of being scared of the police and of gangsters coming to my house because I chose to grow marijuana."

Norma Nieto is also glad to see the dispensary open.

"I was in a car accident 10 years ago," Nieto said. "I take pain medication, muscle relaxants and sleeping pills. ... Using marijuana is eliminating a couple of my prescriptions."

McNeil said the dispensary's opening day was kept low-key. The same can be said about their logo, which is the Chinese symbol for marijuana.

McNeil said they did not want to use an "in your face" marijuana leaf on their logo and on their sign outside.

"We did not want the community that did not agree with what we were doing to ... be slapped in the face daily with a marijuana leaf," McNeil said.

When asked if they were worried about the same trend that happened in California, where communities welcomed medical marijuana dispensaries, only to see criminal elements come in and target them for burglaries, Present said, "This is a product that (criminal elements) are not going to be able to sell as much illegally anymore. So they're trying to hurt those who sell it legally."

Present told 7NEWS that they do not grow marijuana on the premises and that they keep just a small supply on hand for their patients.

"Here at Nature's Medicine we're very secure," he said, without going into detail.

McNeil said the price of medical marijuana at Nature's Medicine ranges from $200 to $400 an ounce. Only patients who have permission from their physician and a valid state medical marijuana registry ID card can purchase the marijuana.

According to the state health department's Web site, 5,428 Coloradans have valid registry ID cards. Brian Vicente of Sensible Colorado said there are about 15 to 20 medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. Very few are located on a downtown main street.

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