Owning a marijuana dispensary isn’t the rarity it once was in Colorado, where retail pot shops have been up and running for over five years. Yet even in this growing group, Smokin Gun Apothecary owner Deborah Dunafon stands out for some obvious reasons…and some surprising ones.
Married to Glendale Mayor Mike Dunafon, Deborah Dunafon modeled the dispensary next door to Shotgun Willie’s, which she also owns, as a museum for America’s War on Drugs — but with a nod to the Gun’s racy neighbor. On Friday nights, you can find go-go dancers hanging out in the Smokin Gun, which is built in the shape of a handgun. We recently caught up with Dunafon to learn more about her dispensary and how working in legal pot stacks up with the strip-club business.
Westword: You’re married to Glendale Mayor Mike Dunafon. Did that impact the process of opening the Smokin Gun?
Deborah Dunafon: Mayor Mike (aka my better half) was of no consequence to the opening of Smokin Gun Apothecary, except for the fact that he was instrumental in condemning the old Shotgun Willie’s building, costing my partners and me several million dollars! After the mayor condemned the old Shotgun’s for the purpose of “widening the street,” Starbucks had preliminary and final approval for a site plan with the City of Glendale.
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However, at the last minute, Starbucks backed out, and I struck while the iron was hot. Since Glendale has a policy that they will not deny a site plan that asks for no variance under the code and does not “moralize” use (note: There is a sex-toy shop, a strip joint, a pot shop and a Chick-fil-A all on the same corner), my partners and I jumped on the existing Starbucks site plan and moved