CARBONDALE, Colorado - After nearly five months of reviews, denials and discussion, the town trustees on Tuesday approved a license for the CMED Medical Marijuana Center, 615 Buggy Circle, by a vote of 5-1.
Trustee John Foulkrod was absent; Trustee Pam Zentmyer cast the only no vote.
The unexpected CMED approval came after Mayor Stacey Bernot said she planned to reverse her position and would vote to approve the license.
The dispensary has been in business since 2010, initially under the business name Colo Med. It was sold in October 2011 to CMED owner Michael Weisser, who operates several other dispensaries around Colorado.
Bernot's earlier opposition, she said, "wasn't to be unfair to any of the applicants," but was in response to her concerns about compliance with town codes.
Bernot, along with Zentmyer and Trustee Elizabeth Murphy, also had objected to the CMED application over concerns that the outlet would be selling medical marijuana to residents from outside of Carbondale, which they felt would turn Carbondale into a regional distribution center for the products.
Bernot said she was hoping the town's staff could produce a "needs assessment" to give the trustees an idea of whether the community's need for medical marijuana had been satisfied by two other dispensaries, already licensed and operating.
That needs assessment, however, was never started due to passage of Amendment 64, which legalized the production, sale and use of recreational marijuana for adults.
A consultant had advised Town Manager Jay Harrington that it would not be possible to come up with a needs assessment study given the anticipated complications from Amendment 64.
Bernot said the needs assessment might have provided justification for denial of the CMED application.
She noted that, besides not having the assessment, one dispensary recently closed while another has applied for permission to expand to meet rising demand.
"That definitely changes things. There is a need in this community," she said, for at least one more dispensary.
In other action the trustees:
• Endorsed an application to the National Register of Historic Places seeking historic designation of the Holland-Thompson property, commonly called the Thompson House, located across Highway 133 from the Third Street Center. The application was prepared by Mount Sopris Historical Society board member Darrell Munsell and architect Suzannah Reid.
• Approved a 1.5 percent increase to the town's fees for water, wastewater and bulk water service, effective Jan. 1, 2013.
• Approved liquor license renewals for the American Legion bar and for Gandhi India's Cuisine restaurant.