Carbondale pot infusion business faces permit revocation

Ryan Summerlin
One of Carbondale's marijuana businesses, owned by The Laughing Dog Group, has its permit up for revocation after the town has received numerous odor complaints over the past year.

After numerous odor complaints spanning more than a year, one of Carbondale’s marijuana businesses has its permit up for revocation.

Carbondale town staff is recommending that The Laughing Dog Group’s special use permit be revoked, and the Town Council will hold a revocation hearing Tuesday evening.

This will be the first marijuana business in Carbondale to be summoned before trustees for a revocation hearing. The town reports that it has contacted the owner numerous times over odor issues since it’s been in operation.

The Laughing Dog Group holds a special use permit for a “marijuana infused products” facility (also known as a MIP facility), and operates at 500 Buggy Circle in the Village Business Center, which is situated near a residential area on the north side of town. Laughing Dog is one of three MIP facilities in town.

Town Manager Jay Harrington has commented in recent weeks that town staff expected the MIP facilities to be a relatively easily managed type of marijuana business. However, the MIPs have become one of the town’s biggest challenges in the marijuana industry due to their odor, Harrington has said.

Town Council initially approved The Laughing Dog Group’s special use permit for a MIP facility in October 2015. The town began getting odor complaints in June 2016, when the building official made his first visit and requested that the company address the issue. Town records show another odor complaint in November, when the building official returned and “verified a strong odor” coming from the business’s exhaust system. Four more complaints followed in December.

Another followed in January, and when the building official visited in February, Laughing Dog was working to cut the odor by installing new filters and exhaust fans. But Carbondale got another complaint in August. Finally, on Aug. 21, Harrington and Police Chief Gene Schilling visited the business and confirmed that the smell was coming from an air vent outside the facility.

The owner of a neighboring business, Novus Glass, told the town officials that he was very frustrated with the odor of marijuana leaking into the bay of his business, situated on the south end of the building.

“He said the odor issue has never completely gone away and he is concerned for his staff and customers,” according to a Carbondale police report. The business owner said that though he had been very patient with the process up to that point, he would contact an attorney if the issue wasn’t handled soon.

“In the recent weeks he has observed employees in the back of the building cleaning filters by beating them in the open with no protective gear on and no regard for the environment,” a Carbondale officer wrote in her report.

These odor issues put the business out of compliance with its special use permit and in violation of the town’s Unified Development Code, according to town staff.

Steve Garcia, the company’s owner, was given the opportunity to submit his own written material for the board’s packet for the revocation hearing but did not, according to staff. He also declined to comment for this story.

During the Tuesday evening hearing, Garcia will be able to speak to the Board of Trustees and call witnesses.

Laughing Dog’s revocation hearing is scheduled to begin at 7:10 p.m. at Carbondale Town Hall, though times are approximate.

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