Fraser board green lights Grand County’s first recreational pot shop | AspenTimes.com

Fraser board green lights Grand County’s first recreational pot shop

Hank Shell
hshell@skyhidailynews.com

Carla and Dan Volpe, owners of Serene Wellness, pose in front of their shop in Fraser with their daughter, Angelina. The Fraser Board of Trustees on Wednesday granted a license to Serene Wellness that will make it Grand County's first recreational marijuana dispensary.

The Fraser Board of Trustees, absent Trustee Katie Soles, has voted unanimously to license what will be Grand County's first recreational marijuana dispensary.

The application for Serene Wellness Fraser LLC, which already operates a medical marijuana dispensary at 228 Byers Ave. in Fraser, came before the board at its Wednesday, Oct. 15 meeting.

"We're so proud and excited to be a part of the Town of Fraser's history-making decision," said Dan Volpe, owner of Serene Wellness. "I look forward to servicing the local community as well as visitors."

Volpe, who operates a recreational dispensary in Empire, was the sixth person in Colorado to garner approval for a medical marijuana license.

“We’re so proud and excited to be a part of the Town of Fraser’s history-making decision. I look forward to servicing the local community as well as visitors.”
Dan Volpe
Owner, Serene Wellness

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He said he hopes to start selling recreational marijuana at his Fraser store on Nov. 1.

Fraser town trustees opened the doors to recreational marijuana applicants in January, making Fraser the only town in Grand County that allows marijuana-related businesses, though the county itself has also adopted guidelines for regulating marijuana businesses.

At the Wednesday meeting, Volpe had already acquired his state recreational license for Fraser.

During his opening statement, Volpe said he was just as mystified by the future of recreational marijuana as the next person when it became legal in January 2014.

"I'm happy to report that we have not had anything but happy customers who are paying their taxes," Volpe said.

Winter Park-Fraser Police Chief Glen Trainor attested that Volpe had had no violations at either his Empire or Fraser locations.

Denver-based attorney Tom Downey, who represented Volpe at the meeting, was involved in the drafting of Denver's policies and procedures for recreational marijuana licenses.

"It is remarkable how clean this record is," Downey said of Volpe. "You don't see that."

traffic concerns

Though the board did read two letters opposing the shop, the only concerns addressed by officials during the meeting regarded foot traffic in the alley behind Serene Wellness, vehicular traffic on Byers Avenue and crime.

Katie McCoy, who lives near the shop, said she was concerned at the number of people using the alley.

"Since it opened a year and a half ago, I have seen people walking through the alleyway to get there," McCoy said. "I would really like to see a fence that blocked off the alley and just made one entrance way."

Winter Park-Fraser Police Chief Glen Trainor ultimately convinced those present that a fence would be an obstacle for law enforcement.

"My professional recommendation is that a fence is not a good idea for the prevention of crime," Trainor said.

The issue of whether customers were in the public right of way or on private property when turning around in front of business also sparked some discussion, though the resolution ultimately passed with minimal resistance.

Volpe said he has to make a few modifications at his Fraser location and complete some paperwork between now and November, though he sought to allay fears that service for medical patients in Fraser would be compromised in any way.

"This decision will not change anything for our medical patients," Volpe said. "Our services to our medical patients will remain in place and unaffected."

Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610.

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