Man cleared to make marijuana patches in Aspen

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times

A cannabis entrepreneur patched things up with the Local Licensing Authority at a specially called meeting Thursday, two days after the board called his character into question.

The authority voted 5-0 in approval of Joshua Meacham’s two applications for his Aspen operation: One permits the Snowmass Village man to manufacture marijuana-infused patches for recreational purposes, the other allows him to change his business address to 730 E. Cooper Ave. Meacham hasn’t started producing the patches and told the board that he’s investing $100,000 into the enterprise.

He wouldn’t sell the patches — they will be made for both recreational and medicinal purposes (a license for which he was previously approved) — to the public. Instead, he would manufacture and distribute them to retailers. On Wednesday, The Aspen Times reported that the patches’ buzz-like effects last three to four hours. Meacham said they actually can last for as much as 10 to 12 hours.

But getting his business afloat ran into problems Tuesday at the authority’s monthly meeting after Aspen Police Department detective Jeff Fain told the board that Meacham failed to note on his application with the city that he had been cited by Arizona authorities for driving with a suspended license and failing to appear in court.

The city’s paperwork for applicants in the cannabis trade asks them if they’ve ever been arrested. Another question asks applicants if their driver’s license has ever been suspended. Meacham didn’t attend the Tuesday meeting; his business manager Steve Garcia was there, though.

Meacham had asked the board to convene Thursday after he learned his hearing had been delayed until its next regularly scheduled meeting in February.

“I’m not trying to hide anything,” Meacham told the authority. “I don’t have anything to hide. … I was not trying to deceive the city or any of you guys in any shape or form. As I told Detective Fain, it was an honest mistake on my part.”

Fain said he didn’t believe that Meacham tried to mislead the city or the authority, saying his failure to answer the questions was likely a case of semantics.

Debbie Quinn, the city’s assistant attorney, told the authority that it could reject Meacham’s application if he lacked the moral character to run a “canna-business.” Qualifying characteristics would be “an individual with a history of demonstrating honest, fairness and respect for the rights of other and the law,” she said.

“The authority has denied applications in the past for moral character,” Quinn said, noting that a person doesn’t necessarily need a criminal background to be denied.

Quinn said that along with Meacham’s traffic transgressions in Arizona, which he resolved in 2010, Meacham also was indicted by a Navajo County grand jury for fraud in 2013. The charge was later dropped, and Meacham explained that the case was brought on by a former client of his when he ran a big-game hunting business. The client had paid for a hunting trip that he never took and wanted his money returned a year-and-a-half later, Meacham said. Meacham didn’t give a refund and the client pursued charges, he said.

He also said he notified the state of Colorado of his traffic transgressions in Arizona, and he was given a state license to manufacture the patches.

“Moral character is something I hold very, very high,” he said. “I’ve always been very committed to our community. I’ve done a lot of community work and nonprofit work. I was distraught that Mr. Fain and the city attorney would question my moral character in any shape or form.

“I can’t help to take offense to it, that my moral character would even be questioned.”

The board expressed confidence that Meacham’s character passed the muster to make the patches.

“You’re a man of good moral character, whether you are or not,” board member Bill Murphy chuckled at the hearing’s end.