|Photo: The Hemp Center|
|The Hemp Center: “We’re trying to represent a more upscale experience”|
The Hemp Center in Littleton, Colorado, has become the first medical marijuana dispensary to join the local Chamber of Commerce, in what may be a sign of growing acceptance of the cannabis industry.
The family-owned shop on downtown’s Main Street was approved last month by the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, reports Peter Jones at The News Press.
It took the chamber’s governing board of business leaders less than five minutes to reach its unanimous decision to approve The Hemp Center’s application, according to chamber president John Brackney.
“My guess was that they would be welcome in the business community and my guess was correct,” Brackney said. “I thought there might be more dissent or controversy over it. But it was a unanimous vote.”
It was a natural step for his business to join the chamber’s network of businesses, according to Jim Van Diest, The Hemp Center’s co-owner.
“We’re trying to represent a more upscale experience,” Van Diest said. “There’s a lot of people in the chamber that we can interact with. If we can bring a greater level of professionalism, education and understanding to the people, I believe it will help everyone.”
The chamber has assigned a staff member to act as The Hemp Center’s marketing consultant. Brackney said the organization is willing to organize a ceremonial ribbon cutting and networking event at the dispensary if the business requests it.
“Our job is to promote our businesses, to build relationships, and build trust and respect between business people,” Brackney said. “[Our assigned staff member] said ‘I’ve seen the site. I’ve talked to the person and I’m comfortable being their marketing and visibility consultant,'” Brackney said.
Brackey does not expect every one of the chamber’s more than 1,600 members to enthusiastically welcome the dispensary.
“There will be clients who aren’t necessarily pleased, but there are always people who might not want a certain client for various reasons,” he said. “There might be some minor controversy, but I wouldn’t be predicting it based on how the staff and board have handled it.”
The Hemp Center‘s chamber membership comes as Littleton looks at its options on marijuana dispensaries. The city council is considering a November ballot question that would let city voters decide whether Littleton should allow them to operate at all.
The Colorado General Assembly last month approved legislation that allows cities and counties to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in their communities.