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County’s lone medicinal cannabis dispensary opens doors in Colfax

By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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COLFAX — Placer County’s only medpot dispensary has opened again in Colfax after an absence of five years.
The re-opening of Golden State Patient Care, 233 Highway 174, comes two months after a tumultuous Colfax City Council meeting and a 3-2 vote allowing the medical dispensary to renew its business license.
Golden State Patient Care initially opened in Colfax in 2003 but ceased operations at the 233 Highway 174 site in 2012. The city pulled its business permit on the premise that it had closed — triggering a loss of the permit after it had been grandfathered in when Colfax banned dispensaries.
Owner Jim Dion had argued that he had closed but only temporarily to make renovations. It took him five years to find a City Council friendly to that argument. 
Five years later, with new City Council members onboard and Dion finding new legal representation, Golden State Patient Care was given the go-ahead to renew its license and reopen.
Dion said that planning and building permits were secured before the occupancy permit was granted Tuesday.
The dispensary opened with 10 employees — many of them members of Dion’s family — at 10 a.m. on Friday. Hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.
Dion, 68, a 12-year Colfax resident, said he’s passionate about what he considers a plant that has helped members of his family as well as hundreds of dispensary customers.
“I can help these sick people not hurt anymore,” Dion said. “Now I’ve got the city of Colfax behind me.”
After the vote, a Placer County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said that while the Sheriff’s Office and all local governments other than Colfax are against cannabis, deputies will have to follow the Colfax Council direction.
Supporters of Golden State had also attempted to win approval for the dispensary at the ballot box, but a measure in favor of allowing medicinal marijuana sales in 2016 narrowly failed to gain the needed two-thirds majority.
Dion said he’s aware of concerns regarding issues like building and neighborhood security. During the dispensary’s first nine years, however, there were no calls to law enforcement, he said. 
Six security cameras have been installed outside the dispensary and another six are located inside, he said. There is also in-person, on-site security, he said.
Patients coming to Golden State for the first time have their doctor’s recommendation checked out with a phone call to the physician who made the recommendation, Dion said.
Dion said that the dispensary stocks edibles but “not Gummies,” referring to a flavored gel candy favored by children that some cannabis manufacturers have turned into a product. 
“I have ugly green candies not packaged in a way a kid would want,” he said.
And nearby residents are thrilled that Golden State has reopened in its old location because homeless people had started breaking into the building, he said.
With cannabis laws changing for recreational marijuana use in California in 2018, Dion isn’t closing the door on adding those type of sales. No Placer County community has approved recreational cannabis sales, including Colfax.
“What I’m doing now is all I really want to do but I’ve told them that if somebody is going to do recreational, I think it should be me,” Dion said.