Green Dragon to appeal pot license denial
The owners of one of two proposed new retail marijuana shops that were denied licenses last week by Glenwood Springs say they intend to appeal the licensing authority’s decision to City Council.
“We were shocked,” Brian Radtke, who with his father, Ron Radtke, owns and operates the Green Dragon retail marijuana stores in Glenwood Springs and Aspen, said of the June 12 decision by Glenwood hearing officer Angela Roff.
The Radtkes are proposing what would be their second Glenwood retail store at 919 Grand Ave., in conjunction with what would be the city’s first marijuana edibles manufacturing kitchen.
The new location would be in addition to the Radtkes’ recreational and medical dispensary and marijuana cultivation facility on Devereux Road.
Roff, in two separate decisions handed down last week, denied city licenses for both the Green Dragon/Grand Edibles Kitchen and the Recreational Releaf Dispensary Bar, which proposed to open a retail store at 404 10th St.
Representatives of the proposed Recreational Releaf operation did not return phone calls this week seeking comment on whether they intend to appeal their licensing decision.
However, they have started an online petition seeking public support for their proposal, suggesting they do intend to file an appeal by the Monday deadline.
The petition site is similar to one launched just before a May 13 license review hearing by opponents of new marijuana shops that generated more than 275 signatures against any new marijuana businesses in Glenwood Springs.
Releaf’s petition seeks signatures to be presented to City Council in support of their application.
The petition aims to counter the five people who spoke at the May hearing opposing their license, asking council to “decide that the opposition that went on record against this business was of minimal count and therefore not substantive to support the denial of the application.”
In her decisions to deny both the Green Dragon and Releaf licenses, Roff cited public opposition to the two locations expressed at the May hearing, although she acknowledged the applications generally met the city’s rules and regulations for retail marijuana operations.
“To me, it’s just frustrating,” Brian Radtke said, noting that more than 60 percent of Glenwood Springs voters favored Amendment 64, the 2012 ballot measure that legalized retail sales of marijuana in Colorado for recreational purposes to people 21 and older.
Roff referenced nine comments from designated citizens and business owners who were chosen to speak from among the more than two dozen people who attended the May hearing as evidence that the Green Dragon application did not meet the “desires of the adult inhabitants” of the city.
The “desires” reference is one of the provisions spelled out in Glenwood’s retail marijuana licensing regulations for determining whether to issue licenses.
“To me, that’s just such a minute fraction of the people of Glenwood Springs,” Brian Radtke said.
The city’s marijuana regulations allow an appeal to City Council of the licensing authority’s decision within 10 days of the decision. Should the Green Dragon and Releaf follow through with their appeals, they would likely come before City Council on July 2, according to city ordinance which requires appeals to be heard at the next regularly scheduled council meeting.
That’s also the day council has set aside time for a work session to begin reviewing the city’s retail marijuana rules and regulations to address some of the concerns being raised about the potential proliferation of new marijuana businesses in town.
Council has imposed a 90-day moratorium on new license and land-use applications until it can review such things as the allowed distance between marijuana businesses and schools, and whether they should be further restricted in the downtown core.
Ron Radtke said he will be interested in the city’s process to review the regulations. He also questions the wisdom of putting too much authority in a single person to make decisions on licenses for what’s now a legal business in Colorado.
“I’ve been through 18 license hearings in Colorado, and have only been denied twice,” he said. Those denials were for cultivation operations, not retail stores or medical dispensaries.
Radtke said Glenwood Springs is one of only five municipalities in Colorado, that he knows of anyway, that use a single license hearing officer rather than having a citizen review panel or leaving the decision up to the local governing body.
“Now that I realize how much power and authority this one person has over the city, I think that needs to be addressed,” he said. “And every cannabis business in the city should be concerned.”
Two additional retail marijuana licenses that were already in process before the city’s moratorium was imposed are slated for review hearings in July and August. They include Martin’s Naturals at 216 Sixth St., which proposes to expand its current medical dispensary to begin offering retail recreational sales, and the proposed new Cannabist Castle retail store at 818 Grand Ave.
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