Garfield County medical marijuana growing operation renewed
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Garfield County commissioners on Monday agreed to verify an existing medical marijuana growing operation outside of Glenwood Springs for state licensing purposes.
But, after a piece of documentation came up missing somewhere in transit between state and local regulators, the growing facility located along Highway 82 and operated by Green Essentials Medical will have to obtain a full-blown land-use permit to stay in business.
Commissioners agreed on a 3-0 vote to verify that the Green Essentials facility is in current compliance with county regulations, which is required in order for the business to renew its state licensing.
In the meantime, owner Ron Radtke said he is preparing to submit a major land-use change application to continue operating in the Red Canyon Plaza south of Glenwood Springs.
“We are the first [off-premises medical marijuana cultivation] operation seeking renewal in Garfield County, so we are kind of the guinea pig,” Radtke said.
Radtke said he has made numerous attempts to track down the missing document required by the county for him to continue to operate, “but to no avail,” he said.
Neighboring business owner Huba Topai, who has an auto repair shop in the same building as the marijuana growing operation, objected to the verification and said he will continue his objections when the land-use hearing comes around.
Topai said he initially agreed to allow the growing operation to supplement its electric power needs by tapping into the auto shop, in exchange for them paying his electric bills.
After he said his complaints about ongoing odor problems from the facility and other concerns, Topai said he ended the arrangement. He would now like to see the growing operation shut down.
“I’ve tried talking to them many times, but there hasn’t been any resolution,” Topai said. “It is affecting my business. I had to put a sign on my door saying the smells are not coming from me, and there is a concern for my customers who always have to ask if they’re going to get high [from the odor].”
Radtke said they’ve done what they can to control the odor, which is an inherent part of the cultivation process. There are also other growing operations in the vicinity, contributing to the smells that sometimes occur on the property, he said.
His landlord, Bill Inverso, admitted there have been clashes with Topai and other tenants, but he is helping to work on a compromise, he said.
“The Radtkes have a right to conduct their business, and that shouldn’t interfere with other businesses,” Inverso said. “We are working on that.”
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Policy that dictates what for-profit activities should be officially sanctioned within Glenwood Springs parks is being reviewed by city staff and will likely come before the city council for final approval later this summer.