Even as other states get in the pool, Colorado’s cannabis industry continues to make a splash, with 491 retail dispensary licenses in the state. Over a third of those are for addresses in Denver, which remains at the top of the cannabis food chain.
All of that chum in the water has raised some fat sharks, with some of the early adopters growing to double-digit chains. In fact, six companies are now responsible for seventy dispensaries around Colorado, and all of them are based in Denver, with most of their shops located in or near the city.
six chains aren’t just the largest legal marijuana retailers in Colorado; they’re also some the largest legal marijuana retailers in the world. Here are the big six, in order of their store count:
Native Roots has grown quickly since opening on the 16th Street Mall in 2009, spreading to stores in Summit County; dispensaries in Boulder, Longmont and Trinidad; and three Gas and Grass shops – medical marijuana dispensaries/gas station hybrids – in Colorado Springs. In the Denver area alone, the company has seven Native Roots locations, all known for inexpensive flower and skate-shop vibes.
Half of LivWell’s fourteen dispensaries are in the Denver metro area, but it also serves the rural crowd, with locations in Cortez, Garden City, Mancos and Trinidad. Founded in 2009, LivWell has run one of the largest seed-to-sale businesses since recreational sales began in 2014 in Colorado. Owner John Lord is usually steps ahead of his competitors when it comes to scaling his business, partnering with Snoop Dogg for branded lines of flower, edibles and concentrates to make LivWell the first dispensary to have celebrity-endorsed cannabis products.
The Green Solution
The Green Solution might top this list a few months from now; the seven-year-old dispensary chain plans to add two more Denver locations and one in Fort Collins this summer. The Green Solution’s retail experience is one of the most user-friendly in Colorado, with a vast but organized inventory of mostly in-house products, all of which customers can pre-order online. Ten of the Green Solutions dispensaries are in the Denver metro area, with two more stores in Silver Plume and Trinidad. It also has locations in Illinois and a medical marijuana delivery service in Florida.
Keep reading for more of Colorado’s biggest cannabis chains.
On top of its ten locations in Aurora, Denver and Federal Heights, Sweet Leaf also has a shop in Portland, Oregon. Known for its vast selection and iconic polka dots, Sweet Leaf has been selling cheap buds since the medical-only days, and its $120 flat-rate recreational ounces continue that consistently low price point – something consumers always appreciate.
Green Dragon might also rank higher on this list in a few months, with recreational locations in Telluride and Thornton slated to open this summer. Although it’s had multiple locations in Summit County and Glenwood Springs since 2014, Green Dragon’s rise in the Mile High is relatively new. After opening two Aurora shops and taking over several other Denver dispensaries in the past two years, Green Dragon now has six locations in the metro area.
Strainwise is no stranger to tough times, despite being the sixth-largest dispensary chain in Colorado; it laid off 45 percent of its workforce in 2015 after the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division denied a cultivation license it had expected to receive. More than two years later, though, Strainwise is still puffin’ along, with five dispensaries in Denver as well as locations in Wheat Ridge, Central City, Idaho Springs and Rifle.
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