Vail developer Peter Knobel to take majority control of Aspen marijuana shop, sister locations

Developer Peter Knobel, who built the Solaris Residences in Vail, will become the two-thirds majority owner of the Native Roots marijuana-store chain pending state approval. Native Roots Aspen sells both recreational and medical cannabis.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times |

Real estate developer Peter Knobel, who was behind the $250 million Solaris Residences project in Vail, is on track to become the majority owner of an Aspen marijuana shop and its sister locations throughout Colorado.

The Local Licensing Authority on Tuesday blessed the corporate ownership changes of three Aspen pot dispensaries including Native Roots, where Knobel will take a 67 percent ownership stake pending the state’s approval.

The Native Roots store at 308 S. Hunter St., which goes by the corporate name RJJ Aspen, had to go through the Local Licensing Authority as one step in its overall restructuring process.

Knobel’s Brightstar LLC will see its ownership of the Aspen shop and the Native Roots company climb from 50 percent to 67 percent. The restructure applies to both the recreational and medical stores within the chain.

Josh Ginsberg, a Boulder resident who has held a 25 percent stake, will see his ownership drop to 15.34 percent. Stake owned by Rhett Jordan of Denver, also a 25 percent owner, will drop to 13.34 percent. New stakeholders will include Sharon Puczynski of Vail with 1 percent, Denver resident Mickey Krieger with 1.32 percent, and Jon Boord of Vail with 2 percent, according to an application on file with the city Clerk’s Office.

The restructure applies to the entire Native Roots chain, Ginsberg confirmed by phone.

“It’s company wide,” he said.

Knobel could not be reached for comment.

Knobel, Jordan and Ginsberg are considered some of the biggest players in Colorado’s marijuana industry. The Denver Post reported in May that the trio held 134 marijuana business licenses in the state capital as of April 15.

Native Roots opened in Aspen in January 2015. Its store sells both medical and recreational cannabis. The Colorado chain has 16 locations across the state. Dave Cuesta, the chief compliance officer for Native Roots, appeared on behalf of the Denver-based chain before the Local Licensing Authority.

The authority also approved the proposed ownership changes for Green Essentials, which does business as Green Dragon at 409 E. Hyman Ave.

Ryan Milligan, the 100 percent owner, will assume just a 5 percent stake after Andrew Levine takes 90 percent control and Alexander Levine holds 5 percent.

“Basically I owned 100 percent of the company,” Milligan told the board. “I’m refocusing my efforts not on the Western Slope.”

Milligan is the co-owner of Greenwerkz, which acquired the holdings of the Green Dragon chain — including its recreational, medical and cultivation post in Glenwood Springs — last year for nearly $8 million from Ron Radtke.

The third Aspen pot shop, Binske at 108 S. Mill St., is shifting its 100 percent ownership stake from Kenneth Porteous to Jacob Pasternack. Located where Alternative Medical Solutions used to be, Binske still needs the state’s approval and must pass an inspection from the Aspen fire marshal and a gain a certificate of occupancy from the city’s building department before it can open. Pasternack said he hopes to open the shop in mid to late November.

In other news:

• Casa Tua’s liquor license will be suspended from Oct. 12 to 16 for serving an underage agent with the state on June 10, City Clerk Linda Manning told members of the Local Licensing Authority. The state also fined the private club $4,850, she said.

• Nello Alpine Aspen, which closed in June after racking up a pile of debts, has another one to pay. Manning told the board that the state fined it $2,786 for purchasing alcohol from a retailer instead of a wholesaler, resulting in the state suspending Nello’s liquor license for 14 days.

“That’s kind of funny,” Manning said, “because they’re closed.”


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