The busiest and biggest pot retail store in Denver opened its doors on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 to record crowds; with massive sales on a day many are coining "Green Wednesday."
In this 'first in the history of America' recreational pot store, it offers every kind of marijuana and paraphernalia a pot smoker could desire.
Employees stand behind sales counters rolling joints, helping customers who want smell the different strains of marijuana before buying it, and the counter is continually crowded inside the Medicine Man marijuana retail store.
The Williams family has built the "Costco" of weed, in a warehouse northeast of Denver, situated right next to a post office.
Nine relatives from three generations work behind the bulletproof glass at Medicine Man, which has grown into one of the state's largest medical marijuana dispensaries and has aspirations of becoming a national brand if pot legalization continues without a hitch.
There was never any doubt that Medicine Man would open as a recreational pot shop after Colorado voters approved Amendment 64 in 2012, making it legal for anyone 21 and over to possess and use marijuana.
Andy and Pete Williams, the brothers whose dream has been realized, are risk-takers who put everything on the line betting on a product that remains illegal in the eyes of the federal government.
The Williams siblings haven't had it all good, they have had recurring nightmares about being busted, enduring strained marriages and the judgment of neighbors, but the rush of being a part of something groundbreaking has kept them motivated.
"I'd dream multiple times a week of landing in prison and never seeing my family again," Andy Williams said.
Imagine a day at the office, equipped with armed guards, stacks of cash, rewards programs for employees and sales clerks versed in 70 strains of marijuana and peach soda that can get you high.
The edibles are something of a treasure trove at Medicine Man, they offer marijuana-infused products such as chocolate chews and soda, and products made with other people's weed that also can provide a longer high and cost less compared with smoking it.
"That is the message — edibles is what you want," said Pete Vasquez, who started as a $10-an-hour trimmer and worked his way up to general manager. "When the time comes, the flowers sell themselves."
According to Andy, Medicine Man is the single largest dispensary in Colorado. Other companies sell more through multiple locations, but no one location moves more pot, he said. He declined to provide figures, citing competitive concerns.
But you can rest assured, the business is booming, and the cash is flowing, most likely already surpassing their initial $125,000 investment. But mostly, the brothers poured money into perfecting their grow.
Their "grow" consists of 9 separate rooms where a forest of plants are flowering. One 150-foot-long room called The Green Mile holds row upon row of plants in a vegetative state, "the factory that feeds the machine."
Wherever you look in the grow area is a lighting rig, a drainage system or other growing aid invented by Pete, a born tinkerer.
"The eyes of the world," Andy Williams says, "are going to be upon us."
Image via Medicine Man