More green crosses are likely in Golden’s future, as City Council has passed an ordinance allowing up to four retail marijuana licenses.
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The city defined retail marijuana as any non-medical marijuana dispensaries.
Possible locations for licensees will be limited based on proximity to schools, parks, and other dispensaries, city staff described at the June 14 meeting.
City voters gave a green light last November to the limited retail sales of marijuana to adults (2A), as well as a 6% tax (2B) on its commercial sale.
In drafting its ordinance and licensing language, the city reviewed elements from other Colorado municipalities, looking for administrative and procedural best practices.
Licensed retail marijuana locations must be at least 1,000 feet from schools and parks. They must also be 1,000 feet from other marijuana dispensaries, whether medical or retail.
Thus, potential locations for licensees include Canyon View Business Park in northwest Golden, the Coors Technology Center Park to the northeast, the Interstate 70 exit 259 area to the southwest, and the area surrounding the existing medical near I-70 and U.S. 6 to the southeast.
Both Canyon View and Coors Technology business parks would require a rezoning process for a retail marijuana licensee.
The map of potential locations also originally included a section of South Golden Road east of Johnson Road. However, city councilors felt any dispensary in that area would still be too close to the nearby schools and parks.
Mayor Pro Tem JJ Trout noted how dispensaries have extra security to prevent underage sales and how there are plenty of liquor stores and tobacco retailers in the same area. Still, she ultimately understood residents’ concerns about a dispensary in that area.
The councilors voted unanimously to amend the map to remove South Golden Road, but were split on whether Canyon View should be removed also. Ultimately, the motion to remove Canyon View failed after a 3-3 tie as Councilor Robert Reed was absent.
Councilors Casey Brown and Don Cameron described how many nearby residents, commercial property owners and tenants were uncomfortable about potentially having a retail marijuana location in Canyon View. Plus, as Brown pointed out, a licensee would have to deal with the “extra step in rezoning it.”
Cameron added: “It’d be hard to get (a rezoning application) approved. It’d be set up for a very tough community response. I’m not sure someone could overcome the concerns that were raised by some of these other businesses.”
Both Trout and Mayor Laura Weinberg contrasted Canyon View with South Golden Road, saying the latter concern was about the concentration of schools and parks nearby. With Canyon View, though, that’s not the case.
Two cannabis industry members who spoke during public comment said they were excited to see a two-year process come to fruition and believed it would create a successful retail cannabis market in Golden.
Liz Zukowski of Native Roots Cannabis Company commended Golden for drawing up the “well-researched, well-written ordinance” as quickly as it did.
“We look forward to applying for a license, and if we are selected, we’d be honored to serve the residents of Golden and be a community asset," Zukowski said.
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