Steamboat marijuana shop owners gain city’s approval to sell business to chain of dispensaries
Employees of a Colorado conglomeration of dispensaries purchase business
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The founders and longtime owners of a Steamboat Springs marijuana shop gained the city’s approval last week to sell the business to employees of a conglomeration of dispensaries in Colorado.
Rocky Mountain Remedies, the first retail marijuana shop in Steamboat, is set to transition ownership to Sherri Marzario and Daniel Griffin of Green Cross Colorado LLC, which operates eight dispensaries around the state under the chain name, Tumbleweed.
The move comes after Steamboat Springs City Council members gave unanimous approval during a July 16 meeting for previous owners Kevin Fisher and Ryan Fisher — no relation — to sell their shares of the dispensary.
The state still needs to approve the transaction, according to Kevin Fisher, a decision he expects to come by the end of August.
If approved, Mark Smith, CEO of Green Cross, would become manager of Rocky Mountain Remedies, according to city attorney Jennifer Bock.
“We ran our background checks on (the three of them) and found no reason to deny the license to them based on their personal history,” Bock said of council’s approval.
As she explained, the transition would not change the name of Rocky Mountain Remedies or its location unless the new owners make requests to the city clerk’s office to do so. It also would allow them to keep the shop’s existing marijuana license, currently under the name RK Enterprises.
According to Bock, the new owners have expressed an interest in changing the name of the business to Tumbleweed to match the conglomeration, but they have not made a formal request to do so.
After pioneering Steamboat’s marijuana industry, Kevin Fisher said selling his share of the business is bittersweet.
“It’s definitely the end of an era for RMR in Steamboat, but I think it’s also the beginning of a new era,” he said.
Fisher is leaving the business to lead a medical marijuana company headquartered in Georgia. About a month ago, he accepted a position as executive director of operations for Surterra Wellness, which sells cannabis products to customers in Massachusetts, Nevada, Florida and Texas.
“The goal is to build the No. 1 cannabis company in the world,” Fisher said.
Despite the changes, he plans to stay in Steamboat and recently purchased a new house in town.
According to Fisher, the new owners will retain the staff at Rocky Mountain Remedies, which was a major consideration as he and Ryan searched for a buyer. They also wanted to find people who understand and live in mountain communities.
“I could have sold it for probably multiple of what I sold it for, but the idea was keeping it as local as it could be,” Fisher said, though he declined to disclose the value of the sale.
Marzario, Griffin and Smith could not be reached for comment. Based on applications they sent to City Council, Marzario and Smith currently live in Cordillera, and Griffin lives in Lakewood.
Some may recognize their chain of Tumbleweed dispensaries, which made national headlines in 2017 after opening the nation’s first drive-through marijuana shop in Parachute.
Based on talks with the new owners, Fisher expects a more robust selection of marijuana products for the Steamboat dispensary. Because of the Tumbleweed conglomeration’s economies of scale, he also alluded to the possibility of lower prices.
Despite this potential, Paul Franklin, co-owner of the Billo marijuana dispensary in town, seemed unperturbed.
“It really doesn’t change anything for us,” he said. “We are focused on our company and providing the best products we can produce.”
As he pointed out, any new owners would have to abide by the city’s vertical integration ordinance, which requires every dispensary to produce 70% of the products they sell in affiliated manufacturing and cultivation facilities. City Council members tightened the requirement for 2020, mandating dispensaries to source half of their products from within city limits.
“They can only do so much when it comes to slashing prices,” Franklin said, referring to the vertical integration ordinance. “The cost of growing here is going to be reflected in their prices.”
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The iconic cone-shaped building on the corner of Yampa and 11th streets in downtown Steamboat Springs was once a wood-waste burner before being moved to become the home for Sore Saddle Cyclery and Moots Bicycles.