Sep 3, 2012 8:50 PM by Matt Stafford

Marijuana business owner gives inside look at setup "hoops"

Since Amendment 20 passed in 2000, legalizing medical marijuana in Colorado, the industry has gone through a lot of changes.

News 5 met with one man jumping through hoops to get his store open.

Rick Genova is a fourth generation farmer.

"Corn, sweet corn; we grew so much sweet corn as kids," says Genova, owner of The Pharm, a medical marijuana facility that's still in the process of opening.

This is a different kind of cash crop than Genova's previous generations had tended to.

Genova blew his knee out in 1991 in motorcycle accident, spent years in a wheel chair and had 13 surgeries. Now he wants to open a one-stop-shop because of the help marijuana has given him.

"Because it works on my pain," says Genova.

This isn't his first try.

"My first dispensary when I first opened it (his first store) there was no zoning regulations, and so when the new zoning regulations came out I could only have two of my licenses there," explains Genova.

So instead of going-ahead with the $10,000 in security cameras he was about it install, he closed down, opting to wait until he could find a place where he could operate all three businesses; the growing, the selling, and a kitchen to make edible marijuana products. That took a year.

"I offered almost every realtor in town a thousand dollars above and beyond, if they could find me a place," says Genova.

Genova also went through three banks the first month he was open. However he's found a new place off of Spaulding in Pueblo West, and a bank.

Now he's getting the cameras in, the equipment, the business licenses; more than $18,000 for the three licenses. He's setting up all of this during unknown times for the industry.

Marijuana businesses across the state have had to shut down after letters from the state's U.S. Attorney. Others fear they could be next. Although marijuana legalization is on this November's ballot for Colorado, the drug is still federally illegal.

"In the view of the federal government, they're drug dealers," Colorado Attorney General John Suthers told News 5 in 2011. "These people knew when they got in the business that what they were doing was in violation of federal law."

Adding to the uncertainty, Genova doesn't have any patients yet. He can't grow anything until he does. That makes him nervous

"A little bit," Genova says, but this is what he wants to do.

"Your style of farming?" News 5 asks Genova.

"Yes sir, my style of farming," Genova responds. "It's something that I believe in."

So, tough to get going or not, he's giving it a try.

Genova hopes to have his store open in September.



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