New downtown Glenwood pot shops denied
Public opposition and concerns expressed by several downtown Glenwood Springs business owners and at least one other marijuana shop owner persuaded the city’s license hearing officer to deny operating licenses for two proposed retail marijuana shops.
Hearing officer Angela Roff, in separate decisions signed late Friday and released Monday by the City Clerk’s Office, denied applications for the Green Dragon retail store and Grand Edibles kitchen at 919 Grand Ave., and for the Recreational Releaf Dispensary Bar at 404 10th St.
Both license requests were the subject of an hours-long license review hearing on May 13 that drew dozens of residents and business owners who spoke against the applications. Roff had 30 days to make her decision.
The Green Dragon/Grand Edibles location in particular had prompted concerns from John Goss, owner of the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue, which operates in the former Springs Theater next door to the proposed pot shop location.
Green Dragon owner Ron Radtke deferred comment Monday, saying he and his business partners were working on a formal response to the decision.
The city’s retail marijuana code, adopted just before retail sales of marijuana for recreational use to those 21 and older became legal last year in Colorado, does provide that licensing decisions can be appealed to City Council within 10 days.
Vaudeville Revue owner John Goss said he was pleased with the decision by Roff to deny the Green Dragon/Grand Edibles license.
“I have been extremely concerned and have heard dozens of stories from people who have businesses right next to a (marijuana shop) saying they can smell it constantly,” Goss said. “I hope I haven’t made too many enemies in this process, but the last thing I need is for families and seniors and kids to come to a show and have the whiff of marijuana in here.”
Public concerns about a flurry of proposed new retail marijuana store locations in the downtown commercial core also prompted Glenwood City Council to impose a 90-day moratorium on new license requests while it reviews the rules and regulations that govern the now-legal industry.
Currently, Glenwood Springs has three retail marijuana stores that also operate separate medical marijuana dispensaries for registered medical patients.
Two locations continue to operate exclusively as medical dispensaries, although one of those, Martin’s Naturals at 216 Sixth St., has requested expansion into the recreational trade.
Martin’s and another request for a new marijuana store, the proposed Cannabist Castle at 818 Grand Ave., are officially before the city licensing officer July 8.
‘DESIRES OF ADULT INHABITANTS’
Roff noted in her written rulings for the Green Dragon/Grand Edibles and Releaf requests that the city does not limit the number of retail stores that can operate in the city’s commercial zone districts, and that the two proposals were in general compliance with the existing code.
However, she ruled that the requests did not meet “the desires of the adult inhabitants” of Glenwood Springs, which is another provision spelled out in the code.
“Although the public hearing was properly noticed through posting and publication … not a single party in interest appeared to testify in support of the application,” Roff wrote in reference to the proposal by Green Dragon, which already operates a medical/retail facility and cultivation operation on Devereux Road.
“In fact, all interested parties that appeared in response to the notice testified in opposition to the permits being granted,” she said.
Similarly, the Releaf location was opposed by several members of the public, including the pastor and members of the Alpha y Omega church, which is located across the alley at the corner of 10th and Blake.
Only one person spoke in favor of the Releaf license — Green Dragon owner Radtke — Roff noted in her decision.
In both cases, “there was significant opposition by the adult inhabitants as well as the business owners of the city,” she said. “Therefore, this hearing officer finds that the requirement has not been met.”
Dan Sullivan, owner of one of Glenwood’s existing retail and medical marijuana stores, the Green Joint and Green Medicine Wellness at 11th and Grand, applauded Roff’s decision.
“She clearly listened to the many voices in the community that shared concerns of oversaturation in our downtown core area,” said Sullivan, who has called for the city to revisit the separation requirement between marijuana stores.
City code currently requires 325 feet between businesses. Sullivan said he believes the code should be rewritten to require at least 700 or 800 feet of separation.
“We are believers in the free market system, but again, there needs to be some balance and fairness to those of us that have been here since the beginning, and have had our space encroached upon,” Sullivan said. “Just as we don’t have a liquor store on every corner, there doesn’t need to be a pot shop on every corner, either.”
Roff’s decision on the two license requests will be forwarded to state marijuana licensing authorities.
In addition to the two other retail licenses before Roff on July 8, the city’s planning and zoning commission is to hear a land-use proposal June 23 for a new marijuana cultivation facility and retail store on Devereux Road.
The city’s moratorium on new license and land-use applications does not apply to applications that were already in process before the moratorium took effect June 4.
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