Inside Lafayette's medical marijuana district

FruityBud

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For those wanting to sell medical marijuana in this city, opportunity looks like a swath of mostly vacant land on the south side of town where nondescript office buildings mingle with aging strip malls.

Lafayette's proposed medical marijuana district could be on the way to becoming a reality, with the City Council set to vote on new medical Tuesday. But will dispensaries be welcome here?

Reaction from those already running businesses in this 75-acre zone seems to run the gamut from indifference to staunch opposition.

"The smell, the clientele, what it brings to the area -- it would interfere with my business tremendously," said Larry Stallcup, owner of The Bingo Mine inside the Plaza Lafayette on South Boulder Road. "My customer base is 55 and older and they don't buy into that sort of thing."

Stallcup, who served as Lafayette's chief of police in the 1970s and 1980s, said a dispensary near his bingo hall would be the final straw.

"As a matter of fact, I would move my business," he said.

Just a few doors east in the shopping center, however, Vision Quest Martial Arts chief instructor Christopher Spann doesn't have any qualms about a store selling medicinal pot nearby.

He equates it to a liquor store being granted a license to operate.

"I don't think it's going to be like, 'Oh you're the karate school near the pot store,'" said Spann, whose clientele is largely made up of kids. "As long as it's a legitimate business and they run it like a legitimate business, I don't really have a problem with it."

Lafayette, which is in the midst of crafting rules for medical marijuana centers, has touched off consternation among industry advocates as it tries to figure out where to allow the facilities.

Last year, the state passed legislation that gives municipalities the power to stipulate where medical marijuana centers can set up shop. Colorado voters legalized medical pot 11 years ago.

Under Lafayette's proposed rules, no dispensaries would be permitted within 1,000 feet of schools, hospitals and other medical marijuana centers; within 500 feet of residential areas and day-care centers; or along U.S. 287 and Colo. 7.

That leaves a 75-acre area largely centered on South Boulder Road -- between South Public Road and U.S. 287 -- open to the businesses. There's also a 3-acre parcel on the northeast side of town, but there is no infrastructure or utilities there.

The owners of Lafayette's two dispensaries, both of which would be forced under the regulations to close their current locations in Old Town and at Black Diamond Plaza on U.S. 287, have complained that there are few landlords in the proposed medical marijuana zoning area willing to lease space to them.

Attempts by the Camera last week to reach three property owners in the district were unsuccessful.

Phil Patterson, the city's planning director, said his staff didn't establish the zone -- which stretches as far south as Old Laramie Trail -- to make life difficult for the city's medical marijuana facilities.

Lafayette, he said, simply drew standard buffer zones around schools, hospitals, day care centers and neighborhoods.

"We have determined that there are areas in town that need to be protected from these businesses and that led us to this district," Patterson said. "We did not start by saying this is where we want them to be located."

But because the district the city delineated is largely made up of vacant land and office buildings far from heavily traveled corridors, most medical marijuana shops looking for a visible storefront likely would try to find space along South Boulder Road.

"We need to have visibility just like any other business," said Alison Neeld, owner of Ka-Tet Wellness Services at 489 N. U.S. 287 in Lafayette. "It's such a shame that they are restricting it to such a small part of town."

Neeld said she had to work with three real estate agents and a lawyer just to get a meeting with a landlord in the proposed district.

And if Neeld or any other dispensary operator manages to land a spot, they still have to deal with business owners who'd rather they took their buds and leaf bars elsewhere.

Nancy Kan, who works at the Fortune Cookie Chinese Cafe at the intersection of South Public and South Boulder roads, doesn't want a dispensary moving into the strip mall next to her restaurant.

She suspects that some people who obtain marijuana from dispensaries are using it for purposes other than pain relief.

"I don't think it's good for my restaurant," she said.

Teresa Bustamante, owner of Strong Tower Christian Bookstore in Plaza Lafayette, is also hesitant about having a medical marijuana center open in her building, where there are two vacant spaces for rent.

"We pray not here," she said.

But Matt O'Rourke, CEO of cancer treatment firm Colorado Cyberknife, said if marijuana provides pain relief to patients like the ones he treats, then they should be free to open in Lafayette's dispensary district without getting a lot of nasty looks.

Colorado Cyberknife's building is located just outside the southern edge of the district, where there is mostly vacant land for sale.

"If it's legitimate and it's monitored, I am personally fine with that," O'Rourke said. "I just don't want some bright pink sign out there with 20-year-olds playing hacky sack in the parking lot."

hxxp://tinyurl.com/4k2w765
 

Budders Keeper

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"The smell, the clientele, what it brings to the area -- it would interfere with my business tremendously," said Larry Stallcup, owner of The Bingo Mine inside the Plaza Lafayette on South Boulder Road. "My customer base is 55 and older and they don't buy into that sort of thing."
I guess gambling is perfectly ok with the former police chief...especially when he is taking advantage of seniors for profit.

Nancy Kan, who works at the Fortune Cookie Chinese Cafe at the intersection of South Public and South Boulder roads, doesn't want a dispensary moving into the strip mall next to her restaurant.
I bet she would sell a heck of lotta more cookies.

"I just don't want some bright pink sign out there with 20-year-olds playing hacky sack in the parking lot."
That right there is funny!
 

tcbud

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Budders Keeper said:
I guess gambling is perfectly ok with the former police chief...especially when he is taking advantage of seniors for profit.


I bet she would sell a heck of lotta more cookies.


That right there is funny!
You said exactly what I was thinking. Right there, that is funny.

Ex police chief should be ashamed of his law abiding self. Guess he saw a need in his community for some gambling.
 

Irish

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prolly why he's the ''ex police chief''.:eek: i think he needs some investigating. i especially liked the part where he says he'd move his buisness if dispensaries are allowed. :D cool cool, more room for a grow house.:p ...what a douche bag.:doh:


let me get this straight. so if an area is zoned for mmj activity, would that mean no child care, school, or church would be allowed in that area, after the buisness opens???

i think the buisnesses already there operating should be grandfathered in. if they were given a license once already, i would fight the move claiming hardship.

my county is on thier 3rd moratorium. mmj activists are screaming foul. they've had more than sufficient time in 3 years to decide zoning. lawsuits are rampant.

''if its ligitimate, and its monitered''...bigot...

''we pray not here''...bigger bigot...

and if the smell is such a big issue to all these bigots, go suck on a muffler, cause were here, and were the majority, but you should know that nancy kan pretty obvious from your fortune cookie reading. you ever smell some of that funk that comes out of a chinese restaurant? sounds like a great location for a cleansing.;)
 

cubby

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I'll bet they have plenty of liqour stores in thier nieghbor hoods, school and hospital areas.
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Do people still play hacky sack anymore? And what's with the fear of a "pink" sign? You'd think the sign would be Ganja Green.
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If Nancy Kan's fortune cookies were any good they would have told her "business is about to pick up".
And I agree with Irish about the smell from those resteraunts. I used to live by one called " The Panda Garden", It smelled like they were cooking Panda's.
 

Budders Keeper

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Do people still play hacky sack anymore?
I do...depending upon how long the line is at the dispensery! It's ok though, I am slightly beyond my "20"s. :)
 

TexasMonster

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Wow, I wasnt aware Louisiana had medical marijuana. I go there at least once a month too. I sure would like to walk into one of them dispensaries. I know I cant buy anything without a medical card but I would like to look around though.
 

RottenTreat

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TexasMonster said:
Wow, I wasnt aware Louisiana had medical marijuana. I go there at least once a month too. I sure would like to walk into one of them dispensaries. I know I cant buy anything without a medical card but I would like to look around though.

Tex I think they are talking about Lafayette, Colorado.....I live very close to Lafayette, La and trust me, Not one dispensary to be found......ANYWHERE! LOL
 

TexasMonster

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RottenTreat said:
Tex I think they are talking about Lafayette, Colorado.....I live very close to Lafayette, La and trust me, Not one dispensary to be found......ANYWHERE! LOL
Thanks, saved me some embarrassment
 

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