Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 6:15 a.m.
In some families, raising the cannabis plant is a time-honored tradition. Back at the end of the 1800s, farmer Diego Pellicer, who owned one of the largest hemp farms in the Philippines, made products for the Spanish navy. Over a century later, his great-grandson, Jamen Shively, founded a dispensary with his partner, Doug Anderson, and named it in honor his great-grandfather.
The first dispensary in the Diego Pellicer chain opened on October 15, 2016, in Seattle. The second opened in Denver on February 14. According to Ron Throgmartin, CEO of Diego Pellicer Worldwide, six more locations are in the works.
Denver’s newest dispensary, located at 2949 West Alameda Avenue, is operated by Neil Demers, who says he wanted to open a location with competitive prices but a high-end experience. Patrons enter the dispensary through a sliding glass door and entryway filled with flowers; an archway leads to the selling floor.
In a room filled with dark wood cabinetry, vases holding roses and large house plants, General Manager Daniel Pantale, wearing a suit and tie, approaches customers with a smile. This is not your usual dispensary experience.
“We wanted to have a high-end dispensary with competitive prices. I consider it an affordable luxury. We’ve got a much better customer-service experience,” Demers says.
Before investing in Diego Pellicer’s new location, Demers spent six years in the cannabis industry. After receiving his master’s in finance from the University of Colorado Denver, he worked at a dispensary and an edibles company before starting the first staff-training company for the business: CannaStaff.
“I ran it for two years, but I couldn’t find enough talent back then. Everyone thought you just needed to smoke weed to get a job,” he says.
His mother, grandmother and other family