Marijuana: Granby Board Okays "Emergency" Annexation to Block Pot Shop
Editor's note: William Breathes's medical marijuana dispensary review, normally published at this time, needs a little more time to cure. In its stead, we bring you an update about a town going to extremes to prevent a cannabis store from opening nearby.
Earlier this week, we noted that Granby's Board of Trustees planned a vote on annexing unincorporated land to block a pot shop from locating there. That vote has now taken place, with members approving the "emergency" annexation. But according to the attorney representing the shop, the officials skirted questions about whether their actions were legal, choosing to demonize marijuana instead.
As we've reported, MMK Limited, which does business as Grand Life Solutions, leased land in unincorporated Grand County and wants to place a cannabis store and grow there. But while the land is technically part of Grand County, which allows recreational marijuana sales, it's located in an enclave surrounded by the Town of Granby, which has a rec-sales ban in place -- and Granby officials had threatened to annex the lot leased by MMK to prevent the business from opening.
Attorney Robert Hoban, who represents MMK, filed a motion for injunctive relief based on this plan. A hearing over the matter was supposed to take place last Friday, but it was postponed to allow the Board of Trustees to address the situation on Tuesday evening. Hoban, corresponding by e-mail, admits to being far from satisfied by the results.
At the meeting, Hoban maintains that the trustees "did not really address the issue of the legality (or likely illegality) of the annexation plan. Instead, it was a plainly scripted event consisting of numerous residents standing out against marijuana in general (protect the children, not in our community, etc.). To that end, the Mayor also read forty e-mails from people she seemed to know well, which all indicated opposition to marijuana generally and in favor of the annexation accordingly. There was no discussion at all about the governmental abuse of power here, even from the seemingly conservative sorts who testified and who would ordinarily loudly oppose such abusive targeting governmental behavior, but for the subject matter.
"We presented an additional (new) argument under state law, which clearly prohibits the annexation, but they refused to rationally consider/yield, as they had to 'follow their constituents,'" Hoban continues. "Thus, the vote was more about supporting the constituents' displeasure with marijuana in the community generally versus the legal analysis surrounding this abuse of power and whether the Town actually had the right to do what they did.
"It was as if the Town Trustees understand that they are plainly not allowed to annex this property under the law, but would rather have a court tell them that and support their constituents rather than vote against the annexation. Remember, this is a town that has difficulty filling its budget to provide trash service and snow removal, yet it will foot the bill for a legal battle that could prevent any tax income off of this revenue source altogether.
"By the way," Hoban adds, "the new/additional legal argument plainly cites the law, which states that a Town cannot annex an enclave where the property immediately across the public road (Hwy 40 here) is not part of the Town, which here it is not."
Whatever the case, MMK will not be opening up in the Granby area anytime soon -- at least not until a court weighs in on the legality of the officials' "emergency" action.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
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