Aspen greenlights first rec pot shop
March 10, 2014
The Local Licensing Authority approved Aspen's first recreational marijuana retailer on Tuesday.
Although Silverpeak Apothecary legally could begin selling that day, its recreational supplies weren't ready. That's because the shop's grow operation in Redstone hasn't been approved by the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners, which will review the matter Feb. 12.
Out of four applicants that the licensing board considered, Silverpeak owner Jordan Lewis was the only one to apply for recreational.
"Hopefully we're going to create the finest marijuana establishment in the country," said Lewis, who also got approval for his existing medical license.
Two other applicants received medical approval, while a fourth application was continued to February because it was improperly prepared.
Ron Radtke, owner of the Green Essentials medical dispensary in Glenwood Springs, will open the fourth medical marijuana shop in town, Aspen Green Dragon, which will be located on the Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall. He plans to convert to recreational but, like Lewis, is awaiting county approval for his grow operation, located at 2520 Lower River Road. He hopes to open by May, but before then, he must secure state approval and have his shop inspected by various Aspen departments.
Alternative Medical Solutions, located at 106 S. Mill St., was approved for its existing medical license, despite pending state violations. At Tuesday's meeting, Linda Manning, of the city clerk's office, informed the board that Aspen Medical Solutions essentially is on probation. She detailed one violation where an Aspen Medical Solutions employee allegedly sold marijuana to a person without a medical marijuana card. The shop also is accused of violating the state requirement to grow at least 70 percent of its product, according to Manning, who asked owner Ben Bayko if he is aware that the state might revoke his license.
"I have not heard that, whatsoever," Bayko said, attributing his shop's failure to produce 70 percent of its product to a terminated lease.
After Bayko explained that he is in negotiations with the state and a Denver-based company to resolve the issue, the board granted him the medical license under two conditions: that all employees receive proper certification and that the supply issue be cleared with the state.
The fourth application on Tuesday — a request for medical and marijuana-infused-products licenses submitted by Leaf Aspen — was continued to the board's Feb. 4 meeting. Chairman Bill Murphy called owner Jesse Miller's application an "unintelligible" mess and proposed a continuance to avoid wasting time, which his board members agreed to.
"I could spend hours trying to make sense of this (application), and it still wouldn't work," Murphy said.
After the meeting, Miller said he will clarify the information in his packet, adding that Leaf will remain open in the meantime.