Tuesday was not a good day for medical marijuana in Northern Colorado. The proposed dispensary ban I reported on back in July passed, leaving business owners and thousands of patients in the lurch. Steve Ackerman, president of the Fort Collins Medical Cannabis Association, told Westword that the 8,500 patients in Larimer County lose out on “the only regulation and control we have for distributing medical marijuana for [them].” Ackerman noted a loss of “$550,000 in sales tax revenue generated by these businesses last year.”

Hundreds of pot industry jobs are not the only loss from this vote. Many patients in Loveland and Greeley–let alone Fort Collins–depended on the college town for their alternative medicine. Those patients may end up turning to a black market since, as a friend tweeted to me Tuesday, “[medical marijuana in Northern Colorado] is now back where it always has been, will be: the streets.” For some, the trip to Denver is too far to be worth it. Others can’t make the trip at all.

Nature's Herbs and Wellness Center, one of few legal dispensaries left in NoCo. (Source.)

But refuge for these patients may lie in a town that’s barely a blip on the map. At a population of less than 400, Garden City is practically a neighborhood of Greeley. And dispensaries are still legal there. While there aren’t many in the town–maybe a handful–there are more care centers in Garden City than in Loveland, Greeley, and now Fort Collins combined. For pot patients who can’t or won’t make the hike down to the Mile High City, this tiny town stands as an outpost for outlaws who just want to use medicine that doesn’t have opiates in it.

While Garden City’s dispensaries may not be as classy or modern as Denver’s–they certainly aren’t boutiques–they provide a necessary service to an area that’s increasingly anti-cannabis. Northern Colorado patients shouldn’t be treated as second-class citizens. Unfortunately, too many folks think they should.

If you know any patients hurt by the Fort Collins ban, direct them to Garden City dispensaries.

Austin Wulf is a freelance writer and cannabis activist.
Read more of his THC-infused coverage of the pot industry here.