Altitude Organic seeks to bring 1st medical marijuana offering to Dillon |

Altitude Organic seeks to bring 1st medical marijuana offering to Dillon

In-store manager Nick Donovan stands behind the counter at Altitude Organic Cannabis in Dillon on Nov. 2, 2020.
Photo by Sawyer D’Argonne /

DILLON — Altitude Organic Cannabis is hoping to bring medical marijuana to Dillon next year.

Dillon currently has three recreational marijuana dispensaries in town, but Altitude Organic is anticipating opening the town’s first medical marijuana option as early as next spring, assuming local and state officials sign off on the proposal. Dispensary owner and CEO Aaron Bluse said the move would help to fill a gap in the county for community members who rely on natural medications.   

“What we’re looking to do is give people an option for alternative medicine as opposed to traditional,” Bluse said. “When you look at medical cannabis, it serves as treatment for everything from chronic pain to nausea from chemotherapy. … We want to create options for people to feel better and have less impact on themselves and their bodies. That’s the fundamental void we’re trying to fill, and we can do that through medical marijuana.”

In March 2017, the Dillon Town Council approved an ordinance allowing for the licensing of medical marijuana retailers in town and updated the town’s zoning codes to allow for the establishments last year. Once opened — Bluse estimates spring or summer 2021 depending on licensing — Altitude Organic would become Dillon’s first medical marijuana facility and would join High Country Healing in Silverthorne and Native Roots in Frisco among the county’s other medical retailers.

Bluse said there’s a clear need for more medical options in the county, noting that there are between 150 and 200 residents in Dillon who already use cannabis medicinally. A new medical retailer also would help to better cater to visitors’ needs in the area, he said.

“It’s like having a prescription for headache medication that you can go to Walgreens and fill, even when you’re on vacation or out of town,” Mayor Carolyn Skowyra said. “You still ought to be able to get the medication you need, and I think this is the same way. If someone is visiting, and they have a need for marijuana that has to be filled, they should absolutely have the ability to get it done here in Dillon.”

Medical marijuana products typically differ from recreational offerings in dosage and potency — dispensaries can sell edibles with up to 100 mg of THC recreationally versus 1,000 mg medically — and how they’re consumed. Bluse said medical users are often looking for alternatives to smoking marijuana flower, opting instead for noncombustible options like topical lotions or sublingual tinctures.

Bluse said he’s hoping to send his dual-license application to the town later this month, after which the business will start the long process of getting state approval. Of note, Altitude Organic is also in the early process of getting a marijuana consumption lounge open in town after Dillon officials passed an ordinance legalizing the establishments earlier this year.

But unlike a consumption lounge, the new medical offerings wouldn’t necessitate a hefty remodel. The medical section of the shop would be “virtually separated” from the recreational side of things, essentially allocating one of the store’s checkout stations for medical products. The products also would be tagged in different colors — yellow for medical, blue for recreational — and could be sold only from their designated stations. Because the medical marijuana offerings wouldn’t be physically separated in another area of the building, medical customers under 21 years old wouldn’t be allowed to take advantage.

While community members await the presumptive arrival of medical marijuana sales in town, Bluse said Altitude Organic Cannabis is actively offering discounts on its recreational products for anyone with a medical card to help fill the need in the meantime.

“For us, doing things as close to Mother Nature as possible is what we believe in,” Bluse said. “We’re looking to go ahead and bring that ethos to Summit County with respect to medical as we have for recreational, and create that opportunity and alternative health options for those living in the county or visiting the town.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.