Fraser board seeks to tweak marijuana code to promote business
Fraser wants to become more marijuana-friendly.
The Fraser Board of Trustees on Wednesday considered revising the town’s marijuana code to allow retail marijuana businesses to apply for extended business hours and allow other types of retail marijuana businesses in addition to dispensaries.
Allie Heon, business development specialist for the town, presented at the town’s regular meeting on some potential ideas for a new marijuana ordinance, including extended business hours and an expansion of marijuana businesses, as well as avoiding putting a cap on the number of dispensaries and allowing marijuana businesses in planned development districts.
“This was based on some recommendations, but also some anecdotal evidence of what other communities had done and there was a positive economic impact without really any negative downside of allowing diversified canna-businesses,” Heon said.
Board members were largely supportive of allowing extended hours since the provision would require businesses to get permission from the Board to stay open later and it would be more in line with other businesses or services, such as bars.
“I would also highlight here that no other dispensary in the county would offer these extended hours so it really does kind of limit choice at that hour and it could be a huge opportunity for us,” Heon said.
There was also support for the diversification of marijuana businesses in the town to allow them to better compete with other dispensaries in the county. The proposed language would allow for cultivation, testing and product manufacturing facilities.
Fraser Mayor Philip Vandernail gave the example of Igadi, a dispensary in Tabernash that grows and cultivates its own product, which occasionally provides tours to customers.
“If there was a smaller shop that wanted to grow some there, it’s actually like an attraction where people want to come in and see the plants and right now they can’t do that,” Vandernail said. “I think a lot of people do (Igadi’s) tour.”
The board also discussed requiring new marijuana businesses to have adequate ventilation systems that address the odor so as not to impact neighboring businesses and passersby.
Ultimately, the board decided the cap wasn’t necessary because of the current requirement that dispensaries be at least 500 feet apart and 1,000 feet from a school.
Heon said she would take the direction from the discussion to write an ordinance for the board to consider at a future meeting.
MASTER PLAN update
The board also heard from town planner Catherine Trotter who presented proposals for the next project of the Fraser River Corridor Master Plan, which is a $6 million improvement project for the Cozens Ranch Open Space.
Board members considered a few ideas, such as restrooms, a parking lot, a playground or an amphitheatre near the Lions Pond area.
Several members agreed that restrooms should be a priority, but that they would be an expensive project because of infrastructure costs.
Ultimately, the Board felt more specifics needed to be in place before a project was chosen and funds were dedicated.
“I’m really hearing the same thing from (the Board) as I am at the staff level that we need to do more design development, we need to continue to press this to better define those types of things and get more consensus,” said Jeff Durbin, town manager. “That’s fine, there’s still things we can move forward on.”
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