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Neighbor Sues Over Pot Shop In Residential Neighborhood

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DENVER (CBS4) – There’s a fight to keep a recreational pot shop out of one Denver neighborhood after the city just approved a retail license for The Clinic on 6th Avenue and Clarkson Street. Now a neighbor has decided to sue.

The woman filing the lawsuit, Liz O’Sullivan, says she’s not trying to close the medical marijuana shop, but she is dead set against it becoming a recreational shop because she’s afraid of the extra traffic it would bring to her neighborhood.

Liz O'Sullivan (credit: CBS)

Liz O’Sullivan (credit: CBS)

The core issue will be whether the medical marijuana shop that exists there gave the new owner the grandfathered rights to become a recreational shop.

The Clinic had operated inside the residential neighborhood as a medical marijuana store since mid-2011.

“Where are all the people going to park? Are the people who come from out of state going to use and then drive in my neighborhood?” O’Sullivan said.

But by late 2011, ownership was transferred to Joseph Max Cohen. On Friday Cohen won initial city approval to morph the medical marijuana shop into a recreational store, which is allowed under Denver’s pot business rules.

The key issue could be when Cohen gained control. O’Sullivan says the hearing officer was wrong when she wrote that Cohen purchased the business in September of 2011.

“He testified at the hearing on April 9 that he bought the business in November of 2011,” O’Sullivan said.

Cohen’s attorney told CBS4 at last month’s hearing that even though Cohen wasn’t selling pot products for a time, he was still in business.

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

O’Sullivan isn’t buying that argument.

“You need a license to operate a medical marijuana center, that is state law, that is city law. So to operate a medical marijuana center when you “A,” don’t own it, and “B,” don’t have the license, for it, that’s illegal,” she said.

O’Sullivan wants a judge to deny the application to turn The Clinic into a recreational marijuana shop.

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