Local man opening second medical marijuana dispensary

By Ian Neligh
Posted 1/11/10

Medical marijuana entrepreneur and former high school teacher Theran Snyder has big plans for the future in Idaho Springs. This month he’s planning to open the city’s second medical …

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Local man opening second medical marijuana dispensary


Medical marijuana entrepreneur and former high school teacher Theran Snyder has big plans for the future in Idaho Springs.

This month he’s planning to open the city’s second medical marijuana dispensary on the east end at 2812 Colorado Blvd. in the former Timberline Electric building.

Snyder’s also planning to open a medical marijuana grow operation at the former site of the King’s Derby restaurant, and he eventually would like to have the space double as an organic burrito/smoothie bar.

Snyder, 31, is already leasing both properties and, according to city clerk Reba Bechtel, he is well into the city’s medical marijuana application process for his dispensary, The Kine Mine.

Snyder said starting his own medical marijuana-grow facility is a part of his vertically integrated business model.

“If I can supply my business with the product that I’m producing, then I’m going to be able to sell it at a better price — that’s just economics 101,” Snyder said.

The economics of medical marijuana in Colorado started when voters approved Amendment 20 in 2000.

Dispensaries working as “caregivers” have been selling marijuana to physician-approved patients with several debilitating medical conditions, including chronic pain and severe nausea, at an ever-increasing rate.

With new marijuana dispensaries popping up all over the state, many local municipalities have been left trying to come up with their own restrictions, given that Amendment 20 currently lacks many specifics.

With several dispensaries already knocking on the doors of City Hall, Idaho Springs enacted a 90-day moratorium in September until the city could formulate specific rules for the businesses.

On Oct. 26, the city passed an ordinance to allow and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries.

“We’re trying to stay ahead of our applicants, and we’re taking guidance I’d say from other municipalities that have also passed regulations that are permitting (it),” Bechtel said. “I think our city moving (regulations) forward was a good idea.”

Bechtel said of the medical marijuana applicants,  each has found a suitable location, has been very business minded and has been able to jump through the city’s requirements to get started.

Currently, there have been three medical marijuana applicants in the city: Mountain Medicinals Wellness Center in the Gold Rush Center on Colorado Boulevard, a wholesale medical marijuana bakery on Colorado Boulevard and now Snyder’s The Kine Mine.

Snyder, originally from Pittsburgh, Pa., came through Colorado as a sophomore in college. He said he fell in love with the state and transferred to the University of Colorado at Boulder. Snyder taught high school English for several years in Pittsburgh before moving back out to Colorado.

Snyder is working on his English doctorate dissertation, teaching Spanish part-time at Colorado Mountain College and is married with two kids.

Therein lies the reason Snyder is transitioning from the dusty world of academia to the hazy landscape of medical marijuana.

Snyder said finding a decent-paying teaching job is extremely difficult in today’s economy.

“This all ties into why I’m moving in this direction —  I make $1,700 take-home a month with two kids and a wife in the Vail Valley, with no benefits and no medical insurance, and it is just not enough,” Snyder said.

During his senior year at CU, several of Snyder’s friends moved to California to get into that state’s own blossoming medical-marijuana industry.

“I was just out there on a field trip. Before I got myself involved with this, I wanted to see how everyone fared and see how the industry kind of panned out,” Snyder said. “I went to San Francisco, and they were all living a lot better than I am.”

It wasn’t long after that he noticed Colorado’s own medical marijuana industry start to grow.

“I had just moved back into the state, but I saw what I was making and saw it wasn’t enough, and I knew (the industry) was something that was viable and profitable,” Snyder said. “So I started putting the connections together and here I am ... I’m just looking to make an honest living for my family.”

Snyder initially wanted to open a dispensary in Evergreen but after starting his business found medical marijuana dispensaries were not allowed in Jeffco.

He turned the business into giving medical marijuana referrals and then set his business hopes on Idaho Springs.

“I started with getting a patient base in Evergreen. I (was) trying to start the dispensary there and when that failed ... this was the closest city that had ordinances,” Snyder said.

He said it seemed like the Idaho Springs community was on board with the idea of the new industry.

“I want to keep capital here, I want it to help the local economy, I want to be a part of the community,” Snyder said. “The No. 1 rule for a dispensary owner is to be a good neighbor and that’s what I want to be.”

Snyder said he’s planning to move to the city in February.

“My whole life I’ve been here, there and everywhere, and now I have a family and I’m just really looking to kind of settle down,” Snyder said. “I love this location, I love the small-town feel of it, and the people have been very friendly.”

Although he doesn’t plan to give up teaching, Snyder hopes the dispensary, the eventual grow facility and organic burrito/smoothie bar will help supplement his family’s income.

“I want to be in education, I want to be a teacher and that’s what my passion is,” Snyder said. “ ... But if this is going to pay better than a teaching job and it’s going to take all of my time, then this is what I’m going to do.”

However, he admits that getting started in the medical-marijuana industry is something of a gamble — with its potential for ever-changing legislation.

He also said the business can at times be very cutthroat.

“The people with the money are the ones that can succeed, and a lot of the people that have been in this market for a long time ... so it’s hard for me to compete with that,” Snyder said.

But he said it was worth the risk.

“I’ve put everything on the line here ... I’ve got a $100,000 in student loans, and I can’t find a good-paying teaching job. I have three teaching certifications at the secondary level...,” Snyder said. “.... What am I doing? I’m teaching Spanish part-time at a community level as a part-time adjunct — I mean that’s just the work that I’m finding. That’s just the way it is ... it’s the economy.”

He said once open he plans to provide massage therapy, homeopathic/herbal remedies and vitamins supplements.

He added that once his dispensary is in operation he’s going to have all of his marijuana strains tested for THC potency, which he believes will help move medical marijuana towards its intended medicinal values and help legitimize the industry.

“I’m not looking to get people high — I’m looking to get people medicine as an alternative to say Vicodin or Percocet or whatever ...,” Snyder said. “So I’m promoting it as a healthy alternative. That’s how I want to be portrayed, that’s how I want to be perceived and that’s the direction I want to move.”

Contact Ian Neligh at courant

editor@evergreenco.com, and check www.clearcreekcourant.com for updates and breaking news.



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