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Nearly four years after the first sale of legal recreational marijuana in Colorado, on January 1, 2014, Thornton's first dispensary is now open. Medicine Man opened its third metro location on Wednesday, November 22, at the intersection of I-25 and 84th Avenue.

Thornton's path to commercial cannabis has been a long one, with the city banning dispensaries in 2010. That changed this year, however, when the Thornton City Council approved a retail dispensary license for Rocky Road Remedies in March. Shortly thereafter, council approved three more licenses: for Medicine Man, Green Dragon and Sweet Leaf.

Medicine Man was the first to open its doors. "It was part of our strategy," says co-owner and president Sally Vander Veer. "We wanted citizens of Thornton to find us first. Being first to market will hopefully allow them to experience us and our $1 million facility."

That $1 million paid for extensive renovations of the dispensary's strip-mall location, once home to a barber shop, a thrift store and a surveyor's office; the decor includes a wall made of recycled car and motorcycle parts. Located just off an interstate and next to multiple residential developments, the new Medicine Man is designed to attract working-class customers, as well as walk-ins and commuters.

Although the store is already open, it's continuing to add employees. "We went to job fair in Thornton to hire residents, but we're still looking," says Vander Veer. "We're having a food drive and painting houses; we've painted a few houses. We're just trying to be good neighbors in the community and show people who we are."

The new Medicine Man is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily at 130 West 84th Avenue in Thornton. The shop plans to have a grand opening some time in mid-January.

Rocky Road Remedies, the first dispensary to gain approval from Thornton, expects to have a soft opening by December 15, according to Rocky Road general manager Emilee Trask. Representatives of Green Dragon and Sweet Leaf could not be reached for comment, though employees of those companies said in September that they expected their new shops to open before 2018.