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Denver Denies Starbuds License Renewal

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Changes are definitely coming for the cannabis industry in Denver, Colorado as one dispensary finds themselves the first to lose a cultivation license over the odor produced by their plants. Only a few weeks ago Starbuds of Denver found out that due to their particular zoning – which lies in a multi-zoned area with both industrial and residential structures – residents were able to make complaints that could result in a hearing on whether or not their license to grow cannabis would be renewed this year.

This was all prompted by Hearing Officer Suzanne Fasing; the hearing held in April gave residents a chance to testify against the shop, with claims of how the odor and the grow were negatively impacting their neighborhoods. With the revitalization plan in place for the area that calls for much stricter regulations for minimizing odor from cannabis grows and testimony that claims Starbuds has known about the complaints for over a year without making a change; the combination of factors lead to the unfortunate revoking of their cultivation license.

“The truth is that this is a David vs. Goliath fight,” (co-owner, Brian Ruder) he said. “And this is an attack against the industry, not just Starbuds” by neighborhood activists and the city.

Ruder says they are filing an appeal to the decision made Thursday by Stacie Loucks, executive director of the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses. Loucks had agreed with Fasing’s findings that the shop’s cultivation, though small in the scheme of things, was in conflict with the neighborhood plan for the area (a low income area, looking to be built up) in more ways than one. Unfortunately, this is not good news for Starbuds or any of the other cultivators whose licenses will be up for renewal in the area in the near future.

“They’ll be a lot of cultivations up for renewal in this very neighborhood and if the city can simply take their license away that’s a bit scary,” said Ruden.

There are a lot of businesses located in areas that are considered only industrial zoning, who do not have to worry about license renewals like this – however, there are still other businesses in the area who will be facing the same sort of fight coming up. Starbuds says they will take this “as far as they need to” – meaning they are not going to give up very easily.

In the meantime, they will be selling bud that they produce from their other locations at the Denver store and have been told they cannot plant any new seeds or clones and all their current cultivation must be completed within the next 30 days, when their current license will expire.

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