Thornton checking up on marijuana licensees

City Councl could look at community plans to decide fate of pot businesses

Katie Parkins
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 6/25/18

Renewal requirements for Thornton’s marijuana-selling establishments could get stiffer under a plan City Councilors are reviewing. Councilors are considering requiring marijuana licensees to submit …

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Thornton checking up on marijuana licensees

City Councl could look at community plans to decide fate of pot businesses

Posted

Renewal requirements for Thornton’s marijuana-selling establishments could get stiffer under a plan City Councilors are reviewing.

Councilors are considering requiring marijuana licensees to submit a report proving they have followed through with their “community engagement plan,” part of the initial requirements to get a license from the city.

Thornton City Clerk Kristen Rosenbaum said the changes would make sure her office is as prepared as possible for when marijuana business owners apply to renew their licenses for the first time in coming months and in the future.

Business owners and managers would also be required to cover the cost of their own background checks by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation as part of their license requirements, according to the proposed changes

No establishments have been up for license renewal since the city council approved marijuana-licensing regulations in August of 2016, she said. The new information businesses owners would have to submit would help Rosenbaum’s office confirm that they are eligible to renew their license.

Prospective marijuana business owners are required to submit a community engagement plan when they first apply for a license. The plan describes how their business will avoid having a negative impact on the neighborhood’s health or public safety and how they will engage local residents and businesses in the neighborhood. The goal is to have a positive impact on the area where their business will be located, such as by doing community service or volunteering.

They also have to develop a plan for addressing local residents and businesses’ concerns or complaints in a timely manner.

“The purpose of the Community Engagement Plan is to foster positive neighborhood/marijuana business relations,” Rosenbaum said.

Sally Vander Veer, president of Medicine Man, said Medicine Man Thornton’s community engagement plan is pretty extensive. It includes patient support groups where members of the community can ask a marijuana expert or nurse questions about marijuana.

Medicine Man also sponsored three job fairs to hire Thornton residents and adopted a highway and street they send crews to clean once a month. They contributed $5,000 to Shop Thornton First and $15,000 to a local food bank.

“It’s a little rough as a business owner being asked `what are you going to do for the community?’ when you’re the only business asked to do that,” Vander Veer said. “I don’t see a request to liquor stores or cigarette vendors to comply with community engagement plans. However, we are happy to do so because that is part of our company structure and culture.”

They will comply, however, Vander Veer said.

“Our license is important to us and being a business in Thornton is important to us, so whatever reasonable requirement is asked of us, we’ll be happy to provide,” she said.

Good faith

As part of the proposed changes, if business owners demonstrate they “exercised good faith and due diligence” in trying to implement their community engagement plan but were ultimately unsuccessful, they may be granted permission to amend their engagement plan.

Rosenbaum said the changes would also allow business owners to expand their hours of operation to be open the same business hours as liquor stores.

The city council’s first reading of the ordinance that proposes these changes is scheduled for July 10.

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