Council declines refund for denied pot shop
The owner of the former Green Essentials/Green Dragon marijuana operation, which officially changed hands this week, will not get a refund of his city of Glenwood Springs application fees for a denied retail and edibles bakery license request earlier this summer.
Green Dragon, which on Wednesday was sold to Denver-based Greenwerkz, according to former manager Jeff Kennedy, had asked the city for $5,000 to be given back after a plan to open a new retail store and bakery at 919 Grand Ave. ran up against opposition and was ultimately denied.
“Due to the extraordinary nature to the way this happened, and the huge groundswell of opposition, we wanted to put this out there for your consideration,” Kennedy, speaking on behalf of business owner Ron Radtke, said before Glenwood City Council Thursday night.
Green Dragon was among five marijuana business applicants that came in before a 90-day moratorium was put into place in May and two major amendments made to the city’s regulations governing the industry.
The city’s hearing officer, Angela Roff, ultimately denied that and one other request for retail locations in downtown Glenwood. Those decisions were upheld on appeal by City Council in early July.
Green Dragon was given a full refund of its new license fees, totaling $3,000. But another $5,000 in application fees are non-refundable under the city’s code.
“I appreciate that you have always been professional, and you did get caught up in some unanticipated circumstances,” Mayor Michael Gamba said.
While “unfortunate,” though, Gamba and other council members said they couldn’t justify a refund in this instance without giving the same treatment for other applicants, not just for marijuana businesses but other types of business applications.
“I don’t think we want to open that door, really,” Gamba said.
Council’s rules change for new marijuana businesses included doing away with the hearing officer review process for new applications, which led to the denials of both the Green Dragon and Recreational Releaf retail pot shop proposals in June.
The city also adopted a new 900-foot setback between marijuana businesses in Glenwood, increasing the setback from 325 feet previously.
The reported $8 million sale of the Green Dragon retail and Green Essentials medical dispensaries in Glenwood Springs and Aspen, as well as its cultivation facility in Glenwood, had been awaiting final approval from state regulators.
A license transfer for the Glenwood operations was given the green light by Roff at a separate hearing in August, following similar approvals by Aspen officials in May.
Greenwerkz already operates a retail location in south Glenwood Springs, and has a total of seven recreational marijuana and nine medical dispensaries in Colorado.
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