Town puts brakes on two medical pot centers
September 13, 2012
CARBONDALE, Colorado – The town board of trustees on Tuesday held up a decision on one medical marijuana dispensary permit and reversed a previous approval for another dispensary over apparent concerns about the town’s medical marijuana regulations.
Trustee John Foulkrod made the motion to “reopen and vacate” the board’s Aug. 28 approval of a license for the Green Miracle Medicinals medical marijuana center, 985 Highway 133.
His motion was approved by a vote of 4-2, with trustees John Hoffmann and Allyn Harvey dissenting. Mayor Stacey Bernot and trustees Foulkrod, Elizabeth Murphy and Pam Zentmyer voted to approve Foulkrod’s motion.
The move came after Trustee Frosty Merriott, who has openly supported the medical marijuana industry, had left the meeting, following a sometimes contentious hearing about an application by the CMED medical marijuana center, 615 Buggy Circle.
The CMED application, which was the subject of a public hearing on the agenda Tuesday, was put on hold to allow the business owner time to remedy deficiencies in his application, as identified by Bernot, and complete improvements to the facility, as directed by Harvey and building official John Plano.
At one point in the hearing about CMED, Foulkrod wondered aloud whether the CMED application should be delayed while the town examines, and perhaps rewrites, its regulations to fix what he and others on the board feel are inadequacies in the rules.
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Both facilities are closer than the 1,000-foot limit from the nearest school, Colorado Rocky Mountain School, according to Town Clerk Cathy Derby. That limit was established by the town in 2011 as the minimum distance permissible from a school.
But the town’s staff had concluded that both businesses could be grandfathered in and continue to operate despite being closer than 1,000 feet.
This was permissible, staff concluded, because of the timing of the shops’ applications and the length of time they have been operating already.
Foulkrod moved to rescind the Green Miracle application.
“I was not clear on what was going on,” he said at the meeting.
He said he questioned the decision to approve the Green Miracle application at the time, because he was skeptical about a staff finding that possession of a town-issued sales tax license qualified the business for being grandfathered in.
Foulkrod also indicated he wanted to put off the CMED application so the town could review, and perhaps revise its medical marijuana laws regarding grandfathering facilities that break the 1,000-foot rule.
That proposal, however, was not approved by the board, and CMED owner Michael Weisser of Edwards was directed to complete the application and the interior construction work on the business and then return for the second stage of the public hearing.
Town attorney Mark Hamilton cautioned the trustees that their action threw the matter of the two dispensaries’ permits into a “quasi-judicial” realm, and that there should be no further discussion of the matter outside of a public hearing.
The Sept. 11 public hearing on the CMED application was continued to Oct. 9. A new public hearing date has yet to be set for the Green Miracle application.
In other action the board:
• Approved a liquor license for the annual Celticfest/Oktoberfest celebrations, scheduled for Oct. 5-6 in downtown Carbondale.
• Approved a special event application for the annual Potato Day celebration, scheduled for Sept. 29 at Sopris Park in Carbondale.
• Approved a liquor license transfer for the restaurant at the River Valley Ranch golf clubhouse.