Fraser green lights second retail marijuana store

Hank Shell

It looks like Fraser is going to get a little greener this winter.

The town’s board of trustees unanimously approved a license for a new retail marijuana store in Fraser at its Thursday, Dec. 4, meeting.

Growhouse Fraser LLC, Grand County’s second licensed marijuana business, will occupy an approximately 1,900 square-foot suite upstairs in the Alco Shopping Center.

The new store, which has already acquired its state license, is slated to open in late December, said owner Craig Clark. It will not include a grow operation and will only offer retail marijuana sales, Clark said.

Clark, a Denver-based attorney and former Marine with Grand County roots, said he hopes other business owners can benefit from his new store, whether it be from cross promotion or simply increased traffic through the Alco center.

“We want to open a shop that supports the community,” Clark said.

During the hearing, other local business owners echoed Clark’s hopes for a symbiotic relationship and expressed minimal concerns.

Dennis Finnigan’s business, Fraser Valley Photo, sits just below Clark’s suite. Finnigan said he had some reservations about traffic on the stairs to and from the store, but said he was hopeful that both businesses could coexist.

“I hope it works, and I hope that we all can benefit from it in one way or the other,” Finnigan said.

Clark Lipscomb, representing the nearby Grand Park development and Byers Peak Ranch, questioned whether the new marijuana shop was too close to an approved school site on the Byers Peak Ranch property, and whether it was too close to another Grand Park property along U.S. Highway 40 that could house a retail marijuana store in the future.

Town ordinances dictate that marijuana businesses cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a school or 500 feet of each other. The town determined that Clark’s shop exceeded the requisite distance in both instances.

The approval marks the latest victory for entrepreneurs hoping to tap in to Grand County’s marijuana market. Despite countywide approval for Amendment 64 in 2012, most towns in Grand County have banned marijuana businesses within their borders. Only Fraser and unincorporated Grand County allow such businesses, and only the county allows grow operations.

Craig told the board that, if his business were successful, he would consider expanding his presence in the county.

“If we create a viable business in the town of Fraser, we would evaluate creating our own wholesale or supply facility as well, somewhere,” Clark said.