Marijuana extraction operation up for review
Following a successful review before the Glenwood Springs Planning and Zoning Commission, the first business proposal to come through the city’s year-old, revised marijuana licensing procedure will go before City Council later this month.
Entrepreneur Jeff Norvell is seeking a special use permit to convert a 575-square-foot space in the commercial complex located on South Grand Avenue across from Rosebud Cemetery into a marijuana plant oil extraction operation.
The application is the first to come through the revised marijuana regulations that were adopted by the city last year after a flurry of proposed new retail businesses in the downtown core were met with opposition.
The new rules established a greater setback of 900 feet between marijuana businesses, rather than 325 feet under the old rules.
A new process requiring a public hearing and review by both the city P&Z and City Council was also established, doing away with the former hearing officer procedure that had been used for both recreational and medical marijuana licenses.
The proposed South Grand facility will not have a retail component or be open to the public, and will not grow marijuana plants on site.
Rather, according to Norvell’s written request to the city, the purpose is to provide existing retail and medical dispensaries and growers with “a safe way to make use of their otherwise unusable marijuana plant material.”
Other outfits do this by using high-pressurized butane, propane or hexane and other chemicals that can be extremely dangerous, Norvell said.
“We use none of these …” he wrote. “Our company utilizes low heat and pressure to extract beneficial oils from parts of the marijuana plants that are usually thrown away or burned.”
Norvell said his process uses no chemicals or high-pressure systems, and creates no fumes, exhaust or loud noises.
“I use a hydraulic press and heated steel plates to squeeze the beneficial oil out while preserving flavor profiles and cannabinoid levels to suit customers’ needs,” he said of the oils that can be used for a variety of marijuana-infused products.
P&Z, at its Aug. 23 meeting, recommended approval of the special use permit for the operation with a number of conditions related to exterior lighting, employee parking, signs and other typical concerns for any business venture.
A key concern for the city will be for the operators to deal with any odor issues that might come up, which would be complaint-driven.
Norvell indicated in his application that the facility will make use of carbon filters in the air circulation system and other technology to combat any odors that might emanate from the site.
“In the event that documented inspections of the premises by city staff indicate that odor is an issue, the applicant will need to employ methods to mitigate odors or be at risk of losing their license,” city planners wrote in a staff report.
Norvell is scheduled to appear before City Council for a public hearing and final consideration of the permit request on Sept. 15.