Neighbors Concerned Medical Marijuana Dispensary Turning Into Retail Pot Shop

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DENVER (CBS4)- Some people who live near a medical marijuana dispensary are concerned about its plans to start selling retail pot.

Those in favor of the expanded business don’t believe there is much difference between the two but those opposed believe it could bring marijuana tourism to their front doors.

“I’m bothered by the thought of so many sick people in Denver they all need medical marijuana in the first place,” said resident Carl Patterson.

“The Clinic” has been in business selling cannabis for medical purposes. Now the business owner wants to expand to sell retail pot to anyone over the age of 21.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“Well I’m not sure that we need another retail marijuana store here. There’s quite a few around and I don’t think we need them,” said resident Mark Skrotzki.

Those on both sides squared off at a Department of Excise and License hearing.

Joseph Max Cohen has been described as one of the biggest marijuana businessmen in Colorado with six dispensaries.

His chain, called “The Clinic” has operated with no complaints– until now.

“They are coming out, young kids in their cars, highly concerning. We’ve seen people smoke up before getting in their car and driving out of the parking lot,” said resident Bianca Ramirez.

The neighborhood association didn’t oppose the new license and some residents testified in favor of the expansion to retail.

“I think they would have a positive impact and bring business to the neighborhood,” said resident Emily Alexander.

To get the new license the dispensary must have been in continuous operation. Tax records show no pot sales were made when the store changed owners. With that the store attorney takes issue.

“There was a brief period where they were not exchanging in sales because they were setting up their stores to prepare for sales,” said “The Clinic” attorney Brian Vicente.

Neighbor Liz O’Sullivan has been keeping a close eye on the store.

“I hate dragging my kids by here everyday. My 8-year-old can spell marijuana, my 10-year-old knows what it smells like,” said O’Sullivan.

A decision on whether “The Clinic” will be allowed to sell retail pot is expected in the coming days. Opponents said they will take the case to court if it moves forward.

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