Commissioners deny marijuana license, application
The Grand County Board of Commissioners has denied a license and application for a proposed marijuana business near Grand Lake.
The board denied JC’s YuYo Dostipos LLC’s application and license for a retail marijuana store permit at its Nov. 17 meeting after a majority of residents spoke out against the proposed business.
During the hearing, commissioners debated whether the property rights of the applicant trumped those of residents within a two-mile radius of the proposed property, located near Pine Beach on U.S. Highway 34.
Applicant Jeanette Causey said she was motivated to start the dispensary to put black market vendors out of business.
“My dispensary will not take away from this community,” Causey said. “It will only add positives. It will have very strict rules and regulations to abide by.”
But residents seemed unconvinced.
One concern repeatedly raised was the proximity of the location to Rocky Mountain National Park and Arapahoe National Forest.
Residents said they believed a dispensary near federal property where marijuana is illegal could put a burden on federal law enforcement.
Others said they felt the area’s residential character wasn’t right for a dispensary.
“Marijuana dispensaries don’t have any place in a residential area and that’s what this is,” said resident Peggy Vernon. “There are homes right behind the dispensary.”
The board received a total of 188 signatures and letters from those opposed to the business for the hearing, while 24 people expressed support for the business.
Only one person spoke in favor during the hearing.
The area is zoned tourist, and commissioners debated whether they should give more weight to individual property rights or the needs of residents within the two-mile radius.
Commissioner Kris Manguso said she felt the area’s residential character should influence the board’s decision.
“People live there; it’s their homes, so the thing that hit me probably the most is, that is the character; it’s residential,” Manguso said. “I think the safety concerns are very, very real.”
Commissioner James Newberry said he was unsure where one person’s rights end and another’s begin.
“Grand County has been a long-time advocate of private property rights, so I’m in a bit of a dilemma,” Newberry said.
Commissioner Merrit Linke said he agreed that Grand County has championed individual property rights but added that the board is required by law to consider the will of surrounding residents.
“I think we need to get back to what our mission is here and what our charge is in terms of what we’re dealing with, and none of the criteria that is placed before us asks us to take into consideration what the rights of an individual are,” Linke said.
Because the board denied the application as well as the license, it’s possible that the applicant may not be able to re-apply for another year, said Grand County Clerk and Recorder Sara Rosene.
“It is my understanding that once an application is denied by the local authority, the state will not consider an application from the same applicant for one year,” Rosene said.
Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610.
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