High-Profile Cannabis Store Behind Nation’s First Rec Sale on Market for $2 Million

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By John Schroyer

3D Cannabis Center, which garnered worldwide media attention when it conducted what is largely regarded as the nation’s first state-legal recreational marijuana sale, is on the market.

The asking price for the Denver retail store? A cool $2 million.

The deal includes a recreational retail license, a cultivation license, intellectual property rights, growing equipment and just about everything a new business owner needs to run a rec shop.

Owner Toni Fox expects to have at least one offer by Friday, possibly for even more than the asking price.

“I had five walk-throughs (on Tuesday), and they’re all industry people,” Fox said. “It’s going to go quick.”

But it’s not as though Fox will be walking away as a newly minted millionaire. She said $2 million will barely cover the debt she’s accrued since starting the business back in 2010, when 3D began life as a medical marijuana dispensary.

“It’ll be just enough to pay back my remaining creditors and pay off my IRS liability, so I’ll be basically probably walking away even,” Fox said. “But I’m fine with that. I know more people (in the marijuana industry) that have lost everything than are operating in the black right now.”

Fox originally started talking about the sale a month ago among a small group of industry friends, telling them she was asking for $3 million. But Fox didn’t get enough interest, so she widened her net and told other influential professionals in the Colorado cannabis industry.

Since then, interest has skyrocketed, she said.

“The response has been really amazing,” Fox said.

Fox and her company’s name were plastered all over the Internet on Jan. 1, 2014, when 3D hosted industry leaders, advocates and media for what was dubbed the first-ever recreational cannabis sale via a state-licensed business.

Major news outlets have kept up with how her business has been doing since rec sales began. CNN checked in with Fox just last month, and discovered that 3D’s sales had exploded to $3.6 million in 2014 after four years of operating in the red.

That kind of fame is certain to attract potential buyers, said Nick Brait, CEO of Greene Consulting Group in Denver.

“In the hands of a really good brand manager, you could certainly spin the first retail sale in the history of the United States into a beautiful national brand, and really do great things with it,” Brait said.

Brait added that it’s probably an “even-money bet” whether Fox may end up selling to an industry newcomer or an established company looking to expand.

“There are lots of people expanding these days. One or two shops suddenly turns into six, but at the same time, there’s people everywhere looking to get into this right here in Denver,” Brait said. “And a shop like that, with that sort of history and notoriety, would definitely bring interest from probably all corners.”

Brait further suggested that Fox could even get more than $2 million for her Denver business, given that he’s personally seen much smaller marijuana operations with a pricetag of more than $1 million. And those shops don’t even have the name recognition that Fox’s store has.

A longtime cannabis activist and businesswoman, Fox isn’t getting out of the industry altogether. She intends to keep running her smaller shop, 3D Cannabis Center Salida, in the mountain town where her family lives.

That way, she won’t have to commute to Denver multiple times a week, which has been her schedule for years.

“I’ve been working every single day since before my son was even born, and he’s five now,” Fox said. “It was basically a decision between the industry and my family.”

Ultimately, she said, the sale will give her the chance to fulfill what’s become a more pressing dream than running a recreational marijuana shop.

“I can’t wait to be a PTA mom,” Fox said.

John Schroyer can be reached at johns@mjbizmedia.com