Hayden’s first cannabis dispensary opens for business | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden’s first cannabis dispensary opens for business

Mark Wellstone and Cherie Sanders have opened Anna Dispensary in downtown Hayden. The dispensary becomes Hayden's first.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

HAYDEN — It’s taken more than a year for owners Mark Wellstone and Cherie Sanders to open the doors of Hayden’s first marijuana dispensary, but now that Anna Dispensary is finally open for business, the owners are excited to move forward.

“It’s surreal,” Sanders said. “We have been working for so long, and so hard to get this open.”

The business opened Oct. 15, but the two owners are planning to celebrate the grand opening Nov. 12-14. That celebration will include specials that Wellstone, who also owns Blue Heron Dispensary in Oak Creek, said he hopes will bring people in to see what his new 800-square-foot retail space is all about.

Working through COVID-19, the two demolished a neglected building at 735 E. Jefferson Ave. and replaced it with a new, welcoming and modern location.

The business received approval from the town of Hayden in April 2019 and was licensed by the state in July. Following the approval there was some discussion about changing the ordinance to keep dispensaries off Hayden’s Main Street, but Hayden Town Manager Mathew Mendisco said those discussions did not apply to Anna.

“The discussions came up afterward,” Mendisco said. “I think there was some initial question as to what those requirements were, and I think we cleared those up as staff pretty quickly. The requirements and the discussions that happened afterward were really framed around the next application that may occur.”

However, Mendisco said those discussions ended with no changes to the ordinance.

That ordinance, which was approved in 2019, requires dispensaries to be 1,000 feet away from child and day care facilities, schools, drug and alcohol treatment facilities, public parks, libraries and other recreational spaces. It also requires them to be 150 feet away from transportation channels, like Yampa Valley Regional Airport and U.S. Highway 40 as it goes through town.

Wellstone feels the downtown location will serve both locals and visitors traveling to the area for vacation. He is hoping that passengers arriving at Yampa Valley Regional Airport will come into Hayden for their cannabis needs.

“We want people to get off the plane and ask their phone where the closest dispensary is located,” Wellstone said. “Then when they see it’s only a half-mile away, we are hoping they will turn left.”

In addition to travels, Wellstone understands the importance of local customers.

“I grew up in a small town myself, and I’m used to catering to locals,” Wellstone said. “It’s kind of nice to be in a spot where everybody’s really appreciative to have you in town, and we’re going to be a shop that definitely caters to locals.”

The variety of items offered at Anna include pre-rolls (a ready-to-go joint filled with cannabis), blunts (cannabis inside a cigar wrap) and edibles (cannabis-based food products).

The store also offers CBD products as well as accessories. The store is still waiting for the arrival of branded products like T-shirts and hats, but he expects them to arrive any day.

“We have a little bit of everything, and want to make sure whoever walks in the door can find something that they like,” Wellstone said. “Being brand new, of course, we’re still building up our inventory.”

Anna works with local companies like Honest Marijuana, Binske and First Matter out of Oak Creek, as well as Wyldfire, which makes edible gummies, based out of Steamboat Springs. Customers will also find Wana Brands, Willie’s Reserve and 1906 in the new store, which will also feature natural growers like AJ’s Farm and Hava Gardens.

“We really pride ourselves on carrying top-class flower,” he said. “I’ve had a chance over the last six years with my other shop to really get to know a lot of the growers in the state, so I’ve got a handful of growers that I think are top notch.”

Sanders feels that while some dispensaries are vertically integrated — which is when a business both produces and sells its product — the standalone concept of Anna allows the store to offer a wide variety of selections.

“Cannabis has always been a part of my life. I grew up in Chicago, and moved out west and fell in love with the mountains,” Sanders said. “I’ve always known I wanted a retail space.”

Anna Dispensary is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

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