Until this year, licenses for marijuana grow operations in Denver were renewed automatically – but due to changes in the way the city is running the industry these days, they are now subject to a hearing if the neighborhood makes any complaints. A dispensary called Starbud’s, which operates a marijuana grow on the second floor of their Denver shop (also their original location) has become the first to be affected by the new regulations.
The complaint was filed by a hearing officer by the name of Suzanne A. Fasing. In her 17 page recommended decision, she stated: “the existence of the Starbud’s retail marijuana cultivation facility has negatively affected nearby properties or the neighborhood in general, including adverse effects caused by excessive odors, and therefore there is grounds to deny this renewal.”
In response, Jim C. McTurnan (attorney for Starbud’s) said, “To take away a license, with the livelihoods of a licensee and its employees at stake, based upon the speculative belief of four witnesses, with absolutely no scientific evidence, is unconscionable.”
Starbud’s has also responded with objections claiming that Fasing misinterpreted the zoning code and that there never should have been a hearing in the first place. However, they do also agree to take further measures in order to control the odor coming from their grow – as will soon be required of all Denver businesses where marijuana plants are grown.
All this comes after changes were made that restricted the number of cannabis retail shops that would be allowed in the city – as well as zoning changes that pushed them 1,000 feet away from schools, whether or not they had cultivation on site. The changes were nearly all introduced after a certain number of citizens became concerned with the rapid growth of the industry within the major city.
“There is no evidence to suggest that Starbuds’ cultivation cannot continue to thrive along with the neighborhood,” McTurnan wrote, “and in harmony with the aspirations of the neighborhood plan.”
In the end, Starbud’s wants to be able to find a way to compromise with the neighborhood and find a happy middle ground for all involved. They are willing to put more odor control measures in place – they just want to keep their first shop and cultivation site open for business. Otherwise, there will be plenty of people losing their jobs – and considering Colorado has had a significant drop in unemployment since legalization, it would be sad to see that start climbing again over something that can be compromised.