Marijuana dispensary vying to become 1st retail shop to open between downtown Steamboat and base area
Several tourists in Steamboat Springs could soon have the option of taking a shorter trip through town to buy marijuana if one of the city’s three marijuana dispensaries is successful in its quest to move to a new location between downtown and the base of Steamboat Ski Area.
Rocky Mountain Remedies recently submitted an application to move their retail marijuana store and medical marijuana center from an industrial park in west Steamboat to 410 South Lincoln Avenue, which is near the intersection of U.S. 40 and Hilltop Parkway.
The move would mark the first time a retail marijuana shop opened outside of west Steamboat.
It also marks the continuation of a trend of local marijuana businesses moving into more visible and accessible locations.
“We’re the only marijuana operator over there in industrial land, off the shuttle route and the bus route,” RMR co-owner Kevin Fisher said Friday.
One of RMR’s competitors, Billos, recently moved from an industrial park to a more accessible location at Curve Plaza.
Golden Leaf is located between the Stock Bridge Transit Center and Elk River Road in west Steamboat.
Rocky Mountain Remedies’ move would require a variance from city codes that prohibit marijuana dispensaries from setting up shop within 1,000 feet of a public park.
But the business plans to use the same argument another dispensary in town successfully used to get permission to move into Curve Plaza late last year.
The argument is that the city should not measure a dispensary’s proximity to a park by measuring it in a straight line “as the crow flies.”
Instead, the city has set a precedent of allowing a marijuana dispensary to be located within 1,000 feet of a park by the “crow flies” measurement if it actually takes more than 1,000 feet to walk or drive to the park from the dispensary.
In RMR’s case, the location on South Lincoln Avenue is within 1,000 feet of Dudley Field soccer fields, but a survey has put the actual walking distance at 1,931 feet.
Steamboat’s abundance of public parks has prevented dispensaries from moving into multiple locations that are less than 1,000 feet of walking distance from a public recreation area.
In 2012, the city council halted a medical marijuana dispensary’s planned move into downtown Steamboat because it was right across the street from Little Toots Park.
Colorado law does not require the 1,000 foot buffer rule for parks, RMR noted in their application.
“During the past few years, due in large part to generally positive public health and safety outcomes, sentiment regarding the visibility of retail marijuana operations has changed and Steamboat’s other licensees have established more prominent retail locations,” RMR wrote in a planning application. “Business pressures dictate that Rocky Mountain Remedies pursue a more accessible location for its patients and clients.”
RMR noted that city ordinances make other suitable sites for a retail marijuana operation “extremely limited at best.”
No public hearings have yet been scheduled on RMR’s application.
The application is currently being reviewed by city planners.
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