Among the entrepreneurs who says Denver City Council amendments about medical marijuana grows could cost him dearly is Wellspring Collective's Morgan Carr.
Below, read a letter to the chair of the council's special committee in which he lays out his concerns in detail.
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Letter from Wellspring Collective's Morgan Carr to the Chairman of the Denver City Council special issues committee:
January 20, 2011
Chair of Special Issues Committee,
My name is Morgan Carr and I am 50% owner of MMST LLC that is the parent company of Wellspring Collective, located at 1724 South Broadway (district 7). Our group formed MMST llc in July of 2009 and opened our doors soon there after in September of 2009. Some of the city council members may remember visiting Wellspring Collective and our in-depth conversation that happened that day on the "dispensary bus tour" in the fall of 2009 when the council was first exploring regulations for the industry.
Then and now Wellspring has been fully in support of sensible regulations for our industry, and have been fully compliant with each and every one.
I was extremely impressed with the council back in late 2009 and early 2010 when they took on the task of educating themselves and the public on this new emerging industry prior to creating and implementing ordinances that impact our businesses significantly. The time spent and understanding gained was great and I hope we can similarly educate you on the proposed grow ordinance (Nevitt/Brown) that Wellspring supports as it stands WITHOUT AMENDMENTS.
Wellspring strives on being the best in the business and with we were very proud to be issued the 5th license from the city of Denver.
After consulting attorneys to decide how to become 70/30 compliant it was clear we needed to rent and set up a OPG. We began our search for our state mandated OPG in April of 2010. I consulted Denver Zoning as I had with questions in the past in regards to where one could and should legally be allowed to set up a OPG. I was told that I would need a plant husbandry use permit and they were allowed for use in I-0, I-1, and I-2 zoned areas. I called my realtor and we set out to find a facility. It turns out finding a warehouse, even with all the vacancies and a dispensary license from the city, was not as easy as one would think. Many landlords were very scared of this new industry and were unwilling to rent to a medical marijuana grow facility.
After many visits with landlords and countless property searches we were able to find a small 2,700 SF facility (district 7) with a landlord who understood the industry and law. Even though the deposit for the facility was very high and the building would need significant upgrades, we had few choices and decided that the I-0 zoned warehouse was our best bet due to the relatively new construction and its location. I verified yet again with zoning that this property would qualify for medical marijuana plant husbandry and that was confirmed. I signed the lease in May and pulled my medical marijuana plant husbandry zoning permit (May, 2010). (It is stamped medical marijuana in green on my forms)
The building required a power move and upgrade that was very expensive. I have installed a security system with high definition cameras, exit signs and emergency lighting, upgraded the mechanical systems and even had to add a drinking fountain to be up to code (requiring cutting of the cement floor!). Needless to say I have spent tens of thousands of dollars on this facility to get it to code. All the work is now completed and I am just waiting on my final inspections to get my final CO.
The recent discussions at the special committee meetings disturb me greatly. The new zoning code changed my I-0 to a industrial mixed use. My attorneys all tell me this means that plant husbandry, along with MANY OTHER USES, are no longer allowed to OPEN shop in that zoned area, but existing users with zoning permits are LEGEL NONCONFORMING just like all other uses that would not be allowed to open NEW facilities.
So if you opened a junkyard in my zone district instead of a medical marijuana grow facility at the same time I did, than you would be allowed to remain as a legal non-conforming use. It seems from the tone of last weeks special committee meeting that amendments are on the way that that will single out Medical marijuana grow facilities and shut them down, but leave junkyards and auto garages open! My grow facility is cleaner than a dentist's office and I have not a single complaint about anything. I will offer a tour to any interested council member.
These proposed amendments are completely unfair to businesses who have been trying to be fully complaint with city code. I will never be able to recover the money that I have invested in the facility if I am forced to move, which I believe will be an upcoming amendment from Judy.
Please do not make city policy based on a single developer in north Denver that has no involvement with my district. This is a city problem that has ramifications that reach much further than Brighton Blvd.
Please feel free to contact me with questions.
Thank you for your time,
Morgan Carr Wellspring Collective www.wellspring-collective.com
More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana grower Chris Bartkowicz sentenced to five years."