Craig could see second medical marijuana shop
A new medical marijuana shop wants to open its doors in the old Silver Building on West Victory Way.
According to a public notice posted on the front door of the building, Tumbleweed Craig LLC requested Sept. 13 the city approve their medical marijuana dispensary license at 316 West Victory Way.
In an email Thursday, Craig City Manager Peter Brixius said city councilors plan to make a decision for or against the medical dispensary “once the city- and state-mandated applications, background screens, petition of neighboring property owners and zoning evaluation has been received and evaluated. The applicant will then be scheduled for a public hearing and the council will follow with an approval or denial of the application.”
That public hearing is scheduled for council’s meeting in late October, according to the public notice.
The potential medical marijuana dispensary is close to the heart of Craig where Yampa Avenue and Victory Way meet, and almost across the street from the Moffat County Courthouse. Opening the area to marijuana businesses was something Craig’s Downtown Business Association told councilors they wanted as it would bring more bodies to downtown.
According to the ordinance, only dispensaries will be allowed in the heart of Craig’s “commercial downtown” zoning district.
“That’s what the DBA asked for because they want traffic downtown,” said Councilman Paul James at their Sept. 10 meeting.
The move by Tumbleweed comes about a week after council amended its marijuana ordinance — which has yet to go before voters — to allow marijuana-related businesses in Craig’s commercial business zones. Both retail dispensaries and marijuana manufacturing facilities that test, cultivate, and wholesale marijuana would be allowed in the city’s commercial C-2 zone, its light industrial L1 zone, and its heavy industrial L2 zone with zero setback distance limits from homes in those areas.
“I think that creates opportunity,” said Councilwoman Andrea Camp Sept. 10 of allowing marijuana businesses to take up residence in some of Craig’s empty industrial facilities. “There are spaces for these businesses.”
Both kinds of marijuana businesses must maintain a 100-foot setback distance from homes in the city’s other two zones — mixed use MU1 and agriculture — and 500 feet from schools, parks, or childcare facilities in all zones except for Craig’s core “commercial downtown” zone, according to the ordinance.
Amelia Miller, manager of Lube Plus across the street from the Silver Building, said she hopes the new pot shop will bring more exposure to her family’s oil change and service business, but she’s concerned about parking in the area.
“I’m a little on the fence,” Miller said Thursday. “I do wonder what it will be like. I can’t imagine it’ll be worse than being empty. I just hope they figure out the parking situation if they go in there.”
Ultimately, Miller said she is mostly supportive of the new pot shop across the street.
“Business is business,” Miller said. “If it helped bring tax revenue to our city, that’s helpful in other ways as well.”
Jennifer Holloway, director of the Craig Chamber of Commerce and Moffat County Visitor Center, also welcomed the new medical marijuana application.
“I think it’s a good move,” Holloway said Thursday. “I don’t think we are in a position to be picky. I think we should be open-minded to new industries. Hemp and marijuana could be real economic assets to our community. I’m excited and happy to see when our elected leaders are open minded to change.”
Shaun Hadley of Craig Apothecary said though Tumbleweed will be a much larger, direct competitor, he’s glad the new business is showing interest in Craig.
“It’s great,” Hadley said Thursday. “It’s what we wanted… We want more jobs in town.”
Hadley was the first in Craig to open a medical marijuana dispensary soon after the state passed Amendment 64, but City Council quickly put a moratorium on any additional shops and Hadley has had Craig mostly to himself ever since. Hadley plans on welcoming the new Tumbleweed shop and hopes it will lead to more Craig and Moffat County residents taking advantage of the medical benefits of marijuana.
“I’m gonna be welcoming,” Hadley said of Tumbleweed. “I’ve been here 10 years. Welcome to Craig. I honestly hope it leads to more people getting their cards.”
Hadley admitted he is somewhat apprehensive about a direct competitor of Tumbleweed’s size, but hopes his loyal customer base will keep him in business.
“I don’t think we’re going anywhere,” Hadley said. “It might hurt us. There might be a couple of weeks there where people go check them out. Hell, I’m gonna go check them out.”
If council approves Tumbleweed’s application, it would be one of two existing marijuana businesses — along with Hadley’s — given first priority for one of three recreational dispensary licenses in Craig if voters were to approve the city’s burgeoning marijuana ordinance.
“If and when the ordinance is passed as written, an existing operation within the city limits will have a preference for a future retail application,” Brixius said. “Currently the only legal marijuana establishment that can exist in Craig is a medical marijuana-licensed facility.”
Tumbleweed’s public hearing in front of Craig City Council is scheduled for Oct. 22.