Judy Negley has the unenviable honor of being the first Colorado Springs medical marijuana center owner, at least that we know of, to receive a letter from Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh, as a part of the his office's crackdown on centers located within 1,000 feet of a school.
"We did get the letter, on Friday," she said by phone on Tuesday night. "And, of course, you know, there’s so many ways to respond to this, and obviously we’re exploring all of them. But that’s pretty much where we’re at right at the moment. Obviously nothing is an easy fix, or a cheap one, but our first duty is to our patients and making sure that they have safe access.
"And, so ..." she continued, or tried to. "Sorry, I’m just exhausted."
Understandable, considering what Negley faces if she doesn't either close or move her center further way, which she plans to do. (Not to mention the exhaustion that comes from feeling that you've jumped through every hoop, only to have the circus set on fire.)
"I’d love to have unlimited resources, because I would love to fight this to the fullest extent, all the way up the food chain," she said. "But I think obviously unless we can all band together as a community, that’s going to be difficult for any one business, for sure. And of course, we went at this with this understanding that our state duly elected officials were going to do their job as well."
So what's the plan on the move?
"We’re looking at other locations, of course, and there is a procedure there with our license and with the local authority," said Negley. "But regardless, as the statute dictates, we would have to have local approval before we could move forward with an actual move. So that’s a process in and of itself: of going back to the drawing board, finding another location, and getting that through Planning and then submitting that to the city clerk’s office and trying to maybe maneuver our application further up in the pile."
Multiple times, we've contacted both the city's communications department and the gentleman in charge of the applications at the clerk's office, Lee McRae, for an update on how far along the applications are in being processed, and haven't heard back. In the meantime, a report from KRDO-TV quotes Trichome Health Consultants owner Cami Hall as saying that if she's asked to move — as she puts it, "it all depends on property lines" — it could cost her dispensary up to $60,000.
"Well, I think it depends on what all you’re moving, you know: We’re just moving a dispensary, not a grow facility or infused products or anything like that," said Negley. She adds: "But I would say that’s not out of the ballpark, to move a business. You know, you start going through the process and everything is so expensive ... that’s a fair estimate."
In the end, the co-owner of three MMJ centers and multitudes of Independent Records and Videos says it's been rough, but then again she works on a daily basis with those who have it rougher.
"Oh gosh, it’s, um, certainly taken a toll on me personally, both with my mental and physical health," Negley says with a big sigh. "You know, uncertainty is never a comfortable position for human beings. ... But it’s never an easy thing, and the patients are what keep you going; you know, you talk to people like Bob Crouse, and, you know, that’s inspirational."