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Boulder Shuts Down Six Medical Marijuana Shops Over Background Checks, Zoning

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The city of Boulder has sent six cease-and-desist letters to medical marijuana businesses after finding problems with their business license applications, and two more will be sent soon.

The letters, all sent in the first two weeks of March, went to High Grade Alternatives, 8th Street Care Center, Southwest Alternative Care, Timberline Herbal Clinic, Mountain Medicine Group and Fresh Baked Dispensary, city spokeswoman Sarah Huntley said.

Huntley declined to name the other two dispensaries because the owners had not yet seen the letters.

Mountain Medicine Group's application was denied because of zoning issues. The other five were turned down because of problems that came up on background checks of principal investors or general managers of the companies, Huntley said. She declined to specify the problems, citing privacy concerns.

City ordinance says that anyone with at least a 10 percent stake in a marijuana business must submit to a background check. Anyone convicted of a felony in the last five years cannot operate a medical marijuana business. The city application asks for information about felony convictions in the last 10 years, DUI convictions and any misdemeanors related to abuse of alcohol or illegal drugs.

Owners of the dispensaries could not be reached late Tuesday.

A recorded message at High Grade Alternatives said the dispensary was closed until further notice "due to complications with our application to the state."

"We are clearing up an issue with our license" and hope to be open in a few days, said a message at Fresh Baked.

Timberline Herbal Clinic and Southwest Alternative Care both list retail addresses in Denver. Huntley said some of the Boulder businesses are growing operations. State law requires dispensaries to grow 70 percent of their marijuana, and many of those growing operations are off-site.

Huntley said the city has not notified the state of its actions against the businesses and likely would wait until the state requested the information.

The cease-and-desist letters came after a staff review of the first 60 medical marijuana license applications, out of 117 applications received in the fall. Huntley said the letters are an administrative proceeding, and law enforcement is not involved.

Jeff Gard, a Boulder attorney who represents many medical marijuana businesses -- though, so far, none that have received letters -- said the state generally has given businesses time to explain past infractions or buy out partners with problematic histories. He said he hopes Boulder will take the same approach.

Eric Moutz, another Boulder attorney who works on medical marijuana issues, does have several clients on the list, though he declined to say which ones, citing his clients' confidentiality.

He said he cannot discuss the details of the cases now, but he does plan to appeal.

The city has an appeals process in place. Depending on whether facts and documents are in dispute, appeals can be heard by a hearing officer or go directly to the courts.

However, all businesses must be in compliance with city code, so an appeal cannot be based on making an exemption for a particular business.

Huntley said the city gave the dispensaries 14 days from the receipt of the letter to sell off excess inventory or move it to other locations outside the city of Boulder.

News Hawk- Jacob Husky 420 MAGAZINE
Source: dailycamera.com
Author: Erica Meltzer
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Copyright: Media News group
Website: Boulder shuts down six medical marijuana shops over background checks, zoning
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