Guest opinion: Green Dragon responds to license denial
In response to the decision regarding an operating license for the Green Dragon dispensary at 919 Grand, we would like to offer some clarification.
It is unfortunate that existing dispensaries in the downtown area are unaware of the laws and regulations in the city of Glenwood Springs. We are not encroaching on anyone’s territory — we have followed the laws set forth by our city government. The business model we propose is unique in the city of Glenwood Springs and the Western Slope of Colorado.
The storefront and kitchen facility would bring a locally grown and manufactured product directly to our retail and medical customers. There is nothing like this in the Roaring Fork Valley. Of the infused products we currently sell, 100 percent are produced on the Eastern Slope. Our kitchen will allow us to produce 50 percent of those products. Additional jobs and tax revenue will be generated for Glenwood Springs.
There has been discussion of the saturation of marijuana shops in our town, as was brought up by the owner of Cooper Street Liquor and Mr. Sullivan, owner of the Green Joint. They stated there should not be a pot shop on every corner in town. This statement is misleading as there is not a pot shop on every corner. Actually, there is only one retail marijuana license in the downtown core (Seventh to 11th streets), the Green Joint — so it’s not hard to understand their opposition to another retail location downtown. Currently there are five marijuana dispensaries in Glenwood Springs — but there appear to be at least 12 liquor stores in our fine city. It seems we could be more oversaturated with liquor stores.
Mr. Goss of the Vaudeville Revue does not want a marijuana dispensary as his neighbor. He states he has heard that there is an odor. Yet at the hearing Mr. Sullivan of Green Joint stated that he had a problem with odors at his Rifle dispensary, but he was able to mitigate those odors to the satisfaction of the adjoining businesses. The fact is that the retail hours for Green Dragon would be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Vaudeville review does not open its doors until approximately 6:30 in the evening — and it is not open every day of the week. The Revue also closes for about a month between seasonal shows. As the hours of operation are not the same and the Revue is closed frequently, it does not make sense that we are in any way interfering with Mr. Goss’ business.
We understand that there was no one at the license hearing who made an appearance in favor of our license. However, we have a large number of medical marijuana patients registered with us who reside in Glenwood Springs. Their identities are protected by HIPAA laws. They are not going to come to a public meeting and expose their health issues to their friends and neighbors. We also have hundreds of local retail clients who are not ready to face the stigma that could be placed on them by their community because of their use of marijuana. These people are your neighbors and friends. They come from all walks of life and from all age groups. The users of marijuana are citizens and parents, who are using marijuana responsibly (and legally) and are not immoral for doing so.
Our City Council spent hundreds of hours writing the laws governing marijuana, and posting these meeting notices in the paper. Very few Glenwood Springs residents came to those meetings to oppose or give input to the decisions they were making. There is always room for change, but that change should not affect licenses previously applied for and which adhered to the rules and regulations currently in place.
Approximately 65 percent of our residents voted to approve marijuana sales, so it seems that the adult inhabitants of our community have already spoken in our favor. How can the small number of people who protested this license and the opinion of one hearing officer override the overwhelming number of people who voted in support of marijuana? The city of Glenwood’s retail marijuana sales projections show a conservative estimate of $5.8 million — how can that be dismissed as a lack of demand economically? We ask for the help and support of the silent majority of Glenwood Springs to speak or stand up now.
Ron Radtke is the owner of Green Dragon Colorado.
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