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Commission Wants Marijuana Business In Berthoud Out Of Location In 30 Days

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FORT COLLINS – Larimer County planning staff suggested a medical marijuana business located outside of Berthoud be given 120 days to complete annexation into that town and to obtain required building permits for work done at the site.
But several Berthoud area residents spoke in opposition to the business at a hearing Monday afternoon.

And after taking input, the Larimer County commissioners opted with a 3-0 vote to give Herbal Rx just 30 days to cease operation at its current location.
The business is located at 1621 W. County Road 8.
"I think it's a tough call," board chairman Steve Johnson said.

He said the county should give the business operators, Chandra Geist and Isaiah Young, time to move to a different location so they could continue serving their customers.
He noted they have operated three months at the current location without any serious incidents.

But Commissioner Tom Donnelly said he was disturbed by a report that Young had refused to allow code compliance officer Eric Fried to inspect the property.
Young said he did not allow Fried in because he did not have a medical marijuana card, although he later acknowledged that he hadn't asked Fried about the card when Fried made the request to enter.

Donnelly also was troubled that Young, a licensed contractor, had built walls in the facility without getting a building permit.
Young said the walls were not load-bearing and he did not think a building permit was required when he built them.

Attorney Trevor Updegraff, representing Geist and Young, said they did not dispute they are not in compliance with county zoning code.
He said they wanted time to come into compliance and felt the 120-day period suggested by the county staff was reasonable.

Updegraff noted that the business is Geist and Young's livelihood and asked that they get a chance to continue serving their 60 patients.
"I am trying to get annexed into Berthoud and to come into compliance with everything I need to come into compliance with," Geist told the commissioners.

Dennis Henneberg, owner of the property, also spoke to the commissioners, telling them he had filed the paperwork to annex into the town of Berthoud.
If the matter proceeds as expected, the Berthoud town board could make its decision on the annexation on Sept. 5.

Henneberg said he saw the medical marijuana business as a peaceful, quiet business, and added that when he decided to rent the property out he also was approached by someone wanting to open a country-Western bar.
He said he felt the Herbal Rx business would have less of an impact on the neighborhood.

Among the area residents who spoke against allowing the business to continue, Elizabeth Kearney said, "They seem to have no regard for what the rules are."
There are already three or four medical marijuana dispensaries in Berthoud, as well as three chiropractors that can provide essential oils and massages like Herbal Rx, she added.

Martha Simmons of Berthoud said she felt the business offered a negative impression to visitors.
She also noted that annexation into the town is not a sure thing, and that the town is continuing to operate under a moratorium against new medical marijuana businesses while it works to develop regulations for them.

Johnson noted that the county wrote its medical marijuana regulations within a month after putting a moratorium on new businesses, and he asked if Berthoud might complete its work on regulations by Sept. 5.

Simmons said the town might not be finished setting up the rules by then.

News Hawk: Warbux 420 MAGAZINE
Source: reporterherald.com
Author: Jackie Hutchins
Contact: Loveland Reporter-Herald
Copyright: Copyright 2010 Loveland Publishing Co
Website: Commission wants marijuana business in Berthoud out of location in 30 days, 5/4/2010 - Reporter-Herald, Loveland, Colo.