Only applicant so far for last recreational permit
Norm Clasen has almost lost count of how many times he has gone before the Basalt Town Council in hopes of being issued a license to open a retail marijuana business on Midland Avenue.
While he understands the process is complicated, he is anxious for the bureaucratic marathon to finally end.
Clasen spent about 10 months attempting to convince the town to modify a requirement that set buffers between any proposed retail pot shops and town parks at 500 feet. On Feb. 14, while most people were out celebrating Valentine’s Day, Clasen was in town hall waiting nervously as the council voted 5-1 to reduce that buffer to 200 feet
That vote paved the way for a dispensary to open on or close to Midland Avenue.
But Basalt only has one retail dispensary license available.
Amendment 64 — which legalized the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado — went into effect in 2014. It gave city and county governments broad latitude when it came to implementation and licensing within their jurisdictions.
At that time, Basalt made provisions to allow two retail dispensary licenses within the town limits, one of which had already been issued to RootsRX on Southside Drive.
That leaves but one dispensary license for the potentially lucrative and untapped downtown market.
Clasen has been doggedly pursuing that one remaining recreational license.
The ink on the resolution reducing the buffer zone to 200 feet was hardly dry before he was at town hall, checkbook in hand, filling out an application that would allow him to open both a recreational and medical marijuana operation at the Three Bears Building on Midland Avenue, which Clasen owns.
In addition to affixing his John Hancock to the application, Clasen had to pay up. The fee for applying for a retail recreational marijuana operation is $5,000 — non-refundable. The fee to apply to a medical marijuana license is an additional $2,500.
At the time, town officials admitted they had no policy in place for determining how to go about issuing Basalt’s one remaining recreational marijuana license — a real concern if more than more person or entity applied.
So far, Clasen is the only person who has applied for a recreational marijuana license since the buffer was reduced — though, according to Basalt Town Clerk Pam Schilling, Kale Lacroux and Justin Streeb have also applied for medical marijuana dispensary licenses.
Basalt has available a total of three additional medical marijuana retail licenses.
Getting the buffer reduced was merely the first step in the permitting process.
On April 4, Clasen went before the Basalt Planning & Zoning Commission to get a “special review approval” for the medical marijuana component of his proposed operation.
According to P&Z documents, the retail marijuana store is a permitted use under Basalt’s C-2 zone district, but the “medical marijuana center requires a special review approval.”
The gist of the P&Z scrutiny centered…