Carbondale asked to lower retail marijuana fees
CARBONDALE — The owner of a medical marijuana shop here has asked the board of trusteed to lower the town’s application fees for a recreational pot license, in light of local voters’ approval of 5 percent sales and excise taxes on pot.
H.P. Hansen, owner of a medical marijuana dispensary known simply as The Center, at 60 N. 3rd St., appeared at Tuesday’s meeting to ask the trustees to lower the fees in order to make it easier for business owners to get started.
According to Town Clerk Cathy Derby, the town fees are set at $5,000 per application for a recreational pot shop, $5,000 per application for a cultivation permit, and $400 to process a special use permit for a cultivation operation.
So far, Derby said, only the Doctors Garden medical marijuana dispensary, at 580 Main St., has filed an application to expand the business to include sales of recreational pot, as allowed after the state’s voters approved Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution last year.
Hansen, who said earlier this year that he was considering the same move, offering both medicinal and recreational pot to customers.
“I’m hoping that they’ll reduce the fees for rec-weed,” Hansen said on Wednesday.
Otherwise, he said, “It makes you wonder if it’s even worth it.”
He estimated that, for his business, to pay all the local and state fees to renew his medical marijuana licensing, and to add recreational licensing on top, would cost “around 15 to 18 grand, or something like that.”
Hansen noted that some of the trustees, while considering whether to impose the $5,000 fee for sales and for cultivation permits, had expressed interest in reconsidering the fees if voters passed the sales and excise taxes.
Now that the taxes have passed, along with state taxes, he reasoned that it is time for the trustees to take another look at the fees.
Hansen claimed that his research has shown that setting up a business to sell recreational marijuana, which does not require a doctor’s prescription but does require that the buyer be 21 years old, is cheaper “everywhere except the Town of Carbondale, which has added an extra 10 percent” on top of the various fees and taxes that apply.
Town Manager Jay Harrington confirmed that the trustees agreed to discuss Hansen’s request, and that it will be on the agenda of a work session scheduled for Dec. 17.
Harrington, too, mentioned the apparent willingness of some trustees to take another look at the fees if the voters approved the sales and excise taxes.
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