Breckenridge allows pot shop to stay downtown
Summit Daily News
BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. – One Breckenridge medical marijuana dispensary was given a second chance this week when the Town Council overturned a previous vote not to allow Man Medicine, LLC to reopen downtown after its current Main Street landlord decided not to renew the lease.
The council’s decision makes an exception to an ordinance requiring existing dispensaries that need to change locations to move off Main Street, in order to keep their operating permits under the current town dispensary moratorium.
The dispensary owner, Frank Torrealba, said he was unable to find a new location anywhere outside downtown and would have to shut down if the exception were not granted.
“I don’t think we want to put anyone out of business in this town knowingly,” Councilman Jeffrey Bergeron said prior to the vote Tuesday night.
Torrealba agreed not to put up any signs around the dispensary’s new location and to put in a staircase to a back entrance so customers would not enter the dispensary from the street.
“The signage piece is a big deal for me,” Councilman Eric Mamula said at the meeting. “That’s the part that affects our guests.”
Medicine Man currently operates in a second-story suite on Ski Hill Road and Main Street and does have an outdoor sign.
The dispensary moratorium went into effect last year, allowing Breckenridge’s seven dispensaries to stay open, but preventing new dispensaries from getting permits. Under an ordinance passed several years ago, Breckenridge generally does not allow medical marijuana centers in first-floor locations in the downtown area or around schools or neighborhoods.
Medicine Man’s current landlord said he decided not to renew the lease after it ended Jan. 31 because other tenants in the building complained about the smell. Torrealba told the council odor won’t be a problem in his new location, where the dispensary will occupy the entire top floor.
The topic was a sensitive one, as that same night, the Town Council passed an ordinance prohibiting the odor of marijuana from being perceptible outside private homes where it is grown.
“Fresh marijuana smells a lot stronger than the jarred marijuana we have,” Torrealba said Tuesday. “We’re not doing any growing there.”
In November, Breckenridge extended the moratorium on new marijuana dispensaries through July.
State law allows local governments to issue licenses for medical marijuana centers, growing facilities and the sale of marijuana infused foods. With new legislators in both state houses, amendments could be made to the law during the 2011 legislative session. Final regulations from the Colorado Department of Revenue are also pending.
The state law does allow for and regulate dispensary location transfers.
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