Denver has denied a license to a company seeking to open a recreational marijuana store at the site of the old Pig ‘N Whistle motel on West Colfax Avenue, ruling that the store “will adversely impact the health, welfare and public safety” of the neighborhood.
It is the eighth denial Denver has issued out of the 120 license requests that have been granted to retail pot stores in the city since 2013.
The Denver Department of Excise and Licenses, which handed down its decision Thursday, said the denial was made because the proposed pot store would be too close to facilities that provide “care, housing and instruction to children, and families and individuals in crisis.”
Local resistance on rise: A growing number of communities — from Palmer Lake, Brush and Granby to Breckenridge, Wheat Ridge and Pueblo — are pushing back against the explosion of marijuana shops across Colorado, which at latest count number more than 330.
Those organizations include The Brandon Center for Women and Children, The Volunteers of America Family Motel and Talmud Torah Zera Abraham, a religious school.
City rules bar marijuana stores from locating within 1,000 feet of a school, child care establishment or drug treatment facility.
In denying a license to Cannabis for Health, which already had a building in place at 4801 W. Colfax Ave., department director Stacie Loucks said while the organizations in the area may not technically meet the definition of a school and drug treatment center, they are “extremely similar in nature” to those types of businesses.
“It is very probable that a retail marijuana store will have the same adverse impact on these extremely similar facilities as they would on the prohibited facilities,” Loucks said.
The department’s decision came despite a recommendation of approval in January from a city hearing officer, who determined that Cannabis for Health’s application was not legally prohibited by Denver’s recreational marijuana regulations.
That determination prompted an outcry by residents and civic and religious leaders that a pot store would be bad for the neighborhood.
John Aguilar: 303-954-1695, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/abuvthefold