Notice snafu delays first retail pot application in Glenwood Springs
Glenwood Springs’ would-be first recreational marijuana store will have to wait at least another two weeks to find out if it will be granted a license to begin selling pot on the retail market to people age 21 and older.
That’s because of a mistake in the city’s legal noticing for what was to be a Wednesday hearing this week before Glenwood Springs’ liquor license and retail marijuana hearing officer to consider the license application by Greenwerkz.
Greenwerkz currently operates one of Glenwood’s five medical marijuana dispensaries and has applied to expand into the retail market under Colorado’s Amendment 64, which allowed retail sales of marijuana for recreational purposes effective Jan. 1 of this year.
The business has completed the necessary renovation of its space at 2922 S. Glen Ave. to meet the state’s separation requirements for facilities that deal in both medical and recreational marijuana. It’s just awaiting the green light from the city to begin selling for recreational purposes.
A legal notice ran in the Post Independent newspaper on March 3, which was a day late to meet the city’s required 10-day notification for liquor and marijuana license hearings, according to deputy city clerk Ann Green.
The mix-up also affected a handful of liquor license requests, including for the new Lost Cajun restaurant that is slated to open in downtown Glenwood Springs in early April, Green said. A new hearing for the license requests that were to be heard this week is scheduled for 2 p.m. March 26.
But the delay is adding up in terms of potential revenue from the lucrative recreational marijuana market for Denver-based Greenwerkz, said Melissa Finn, manager of the Glenwood Springs outlet.
She pointed to published sales numbers for the Roaring Fork Valley’s first recreational pot outlet, the Doctor’s Garden in Carbondale, which reported retail sales topping $200,000 since opening Jan. 15 through the end of February.
“I believe it,” Finn said of the lofty numbers. “And a lot of those people would have shopped here if they had been able to.”
Finn estimated that Greenwerkz has probably lost at least 30 percent on top of what sales have been for the Carbondale shop since Greenwerkz applied for city licensing in mid-January.
A second area retail pot shop, Silverpeak Apothecary, opened March 5 in Aspen.
“With the traffic we’ve already had [recreational marijuana inquiries] here, and that we’re instead having to send to Carbondale and Aspen, we figure we could have been pulling in 400 or 500 grand a month just because of our location and easier access,” Finn said.
Because of the extended delay, Greenwerkz will be asking for an expedited decision from the city’s licensing officer so that it can begin retail sales soon after the March 26 hearing. The city’s retail marijuana licensing rules allow up to 60 days for that decision to be made.
“It’s frustrating to see people who want to spend that money here, and we’re sending it upvalley,” Finn said, also noting the lost sales tax revenues for Glenwood Springs as a result.
A second Glenwood Springs medical marijuana dispensary, Green Essentials, has also applied for a retail marijuana license, but is a few weeks behind Greenwerkz in the process.
Green Essentials is currently renovating the former Fiberforge manufacturing plant at 1420 Devereux Road to serve as its new combined marijuana cultivation facility, medical dispensary and retail sales outlet.
Once it receives clearance from the building department, it can move its medical marijuana operations to the new location, from its current space on 10th Street. Retail sales would have to await a hearing before the city licensing officer.
The Glenwood cultivation facility would also supply the Green Dragon shop in Aspen, which is run by Green Essentials owners Ron and Brian Radtke, who plan to begin recreational pot sales in Aspen by early April.
Meanwhile, the license hearing delay is less of a concern for Raymond Griffin, owner of the Lost Cajun restaurants in Summit County, who is shooting for an April 9 opening for his new Glenwood Springs restaurant at 711 Grand Ave.
“We’ll open with or without a liquor license,” Griffin said Monday. “We’re a family-style restaurant, and beer and wine account for less than 3 percent of our sales.”
Griffin said he is planning a job fair in Glenwood Springs on March 29, and intends to hire all of his estimated 25 to 30 full- and part-time employees from the area.
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The coalition wants to raise taxes on recreational marijuana to help children from low-income families, children with special needs and those falling behind their grade levels by providing certified out-of-school tutors.