City Park Dispensary: Medical marijuana center too close to juvenile hall, forced to close soon

Last week, a reader posted a tip that City Park Dispensary -- which garnered a favorable review from us back in July for its unique strains -- was being forced to close down.

Unfortunately, the rumor is true. And the reason is approximately 100 feet long.

City Park Dispensary owner Bentley Folse says the city planning office has ruled that the clinic is roughly 900 feet from a juvenile halfway house. Since city regulations prohibit dispensaries from operating within 1,000 feet from a school or child care facility, the center is being forced to shut down. What makes it worse, Folse notes, is that had they gotten their sales tax license fifteen days earlier, they would have been grandfathered into the old rules and been allowed to stay open, despite the fact that they received their zoning approval before the December 15, 2009, cutoff date.

The juvenile hall, located at 1508 Fillmore Street, is run by YouthTrack Services, a private company based in Utah; it serves as a halfway house for juvenile offenders in a work-release program. Calls to the facility regarding how long they have been open were not immediately returned. Folse says dispensary personnel made sure their shop wasn't less than 1,000 feet from any of the nearby schools or daycare facilities before opening, adding that the halfway house on Fillmore did not show up on any city maps.

Sue Cobb, spokeswoman for Denver Community Planning and Development, says that out of the 347 MMJ applications received by July 1, 28 have been denied and another thirteen operations have withdrawn their application. According to her, the most common reasons for denial were that the dispensary was in a residential area, the applicants had prior felony convictions, or the center fell outside of the buffer zone officials said would help keep children from being exposed to medical marijuana.

"The sad thing is, there's a liquor store across the street from me and I'm in between two bars," Folse points out. "Not to mention the motel next to the [halfway house]."

Folse said he wants to fight the ruling and has filed one last appeal. If that fails, however, the shop can only remain open until October 20.

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William Breathes
Contact: William Breathes