Marijuana-Hating Town's Extreme Efforts to Block a Pot Shop
Plenty of Colorado municipalities have chosen to ban marijuana businesses, but few have gone to the extremes of Granby, a gorgeous community in Grand County. Officials have threatened to annex land that's not officially part of the town to prevent a marijuana shop from opening there -- a plan it's slated to defend at a hearing tomorrow. Here are the strange details.
The story comes to us from Bob Hoban, an attorney who's made battling with communities on behalf of dispensaries something of a specialty; note his four-year scrap with Littleton on behalf of Cannamart.
His client this time around is MMK Limited, which does business as Grand Life Solutions.
"Grand County allows recreational marijuana," Hoban explains -- so the company's reps "found a location in unincorporated Grand County for retail, and also one for the grow. And when the Town of Granby found out about the grow, they said, 'We don't want this. We've banned this. If you open up, we're going to annex you and shut you down.'"
To clarify: The land where the grow was to be located isn't currently a part of Granby. But administrators said they'd pass laws to include it in the town limits, thereby making the grow illegal.
In response, Hoban goes on, "my client said, 'I have another place where I was going to put my storefront: I'll just do everything in one location. So he applies and all systems are go in regard to the county and the state. But then the Town of Granby rears its ugly head again and says, 'We're going to annex that location, too, and shut you down.'"
Complicating the situation is the planned location for the store. "It's located in subdivision, and the land is referred to as an enclave," Hoban notes. "It's outside of the downtown area but technically surrounded by the Town of Granby" without actually being a part of it.
As such, the land falls under the laws of Grand County, not Granby, and Hoban stresses that "the owner's on board. My client has a lease in place and all systems are go in regard to the county and the state. But then the town said, 'We're going to annex this enclave.'"
Well, not the entire enclave. Hoban says the subdivision in question has in the range of fifteen-to-twenty lots, but Granby only wants to annex one of them: Lot 9 -- which just happens to be where the marijuana business would be located.
This approach brings up what Hoban describes as "some interesting issues." They include questions such as "Is the annexation lawful?" (he doesn't think it is); "Is it constitutional?" (again, he argues that it's not); "Are they targeting him?" (they are, he believes); and "If they're successful, wouldn't this be a taking, assuming that the county and the state would have already issued their licenses?" (they haven't yet, but Hoban maintains that "we were a rubber stamp away").
All of these matters will be debated at an injunction hearing scheduled for tomorrow. But no matter what happens, Granby is in the running for the honor of being the Colorado town that most hates pot.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
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