A new medical-marijuana dispenser plans to open in Aspen, with two more dispensers awaiting approval.
Chad Harbin has received approval from the city to open Advanced Growing Technologies on Spring Street. He plans to submit his medical-marijuana retail application to the state on Tuesday, eight days before the Oct. 1 deadline to be considered for recreational-marijuana retail conversion.
Ron Radtke, owner of Green Essentials dispensary in Glenwood Springs, has submitted his medical application to the state. He is awaiting business approval from Aspen for a space at Hyman Avenue and Mill Street.
A third group, from Durango — also awaiting Aspen’s approval — plans to operate in the Bidwell Building, located on the Cooper Avenue pedestrian mall.
City staff recommended that for the first year or two, the number of recreational marijuana retailers in Aspen be no greater than the number of established medical dispensaries by Oct. 1. There are now four medical operators in Aspen — Alternative Medical Solutions, Leaf Aspen, Silverpeak Apothecary and Harbin’s business Advanced Growing Technologies.
The proposed pot-shop limit drew some discussion at the Aspen City Council’s Sept. 16 meeting.
Jeff Wertz — who serves on the Liquor License Authority, the entity that will distribute recreational-marijuana-retail licenses — pointed out that Aspen has never capped liquor licenses, so it shouldn’t do it with retail marijuana, either.
“If someone has a clean background, they get the (liquor) license,” Wertz said.
Jordan Lewis, owner of Silverpeak Apothecary, and Damien Horgan, owner of Aspen’s Alternative Medical Solutions, both spoke out against allowing more retailers into the market. Radtke said that from a competitive standpoint, he understands where they’re coming from.
“If I were in their position, I would do the same thing,” he said.
The City Council will discuss the pot-shop limit at Monday’s regular meeting. The council also will review land-use amendments, which will define zoning and operating procedures for recreational marijuana.
Medical dispensaries can begin selling recreational marijuana on Jan. 1, nine months before non-medical applicants. Similar to liquor retailers, recreational-marijuana retailers will be charged a $2,000 operating fee by the city. That’s in addition to the $500 state application fee, half of which the city will collect.