Following some pushback, Craig City Council approves retail marijuana shop license |

Following some pushback, Craig City Council approves retail marijuana shop license

Ray K. Erku
For Craig Press

Add one more to the list of marijuana dispensaries in Craig. 

After realizing the city’s licensing board has no authority to deny any proposed marijuana retail license requests based on criteria not included in current zoning ordinance language, Craig City Council on Oct. 13 approved a dispensary license to High Ways LLC. That means Craig now has five such retail operations.

In September, the city council denied the prospective business a dispensary license following opposition voiced by some Craig residents, including many who signed a petition against the proposed retail marijuana shop. They argued the building’s proposed location at W. Victory Way would pose certain nuisances – lighting, parking and traffic, to name a few – to those who live along West Eighth Avenue and A Street, which fall directly behind the building.

“Little did I realize that we couldn’t take the desires of the neighborhoods into consideration in reviewing your permit,” councilor Chris Nichols, who voted against the license last month, told High Ways owner Dustin Kemp. “And I would like to propose, as we move forward (for) any ‘R1’ property, that we add that back in there.”

“Our hands are tied,” he later added. “And I think that there are some neighborhoods that we should have the authority to say, ‘No, that’s too residential.’” 

Mayor Jarrod Ogden, who also originally opposed the proposed location, agreed.

“We basically have a boilerplate and we’ve done our best to run with it,” he said.

To mitigate concerns, however, Kemp provided council last week a site plan to build a 200-foot-long fence behind his business. The fence would be 6 feet high.

“We’re trying to put an ‘L’ there so that we can put a sign that also states that everybody has to exit left toward Victory Way so they don’t enter into the residential area,” Kemp said.

Kemp also said all lighting will be positioned toward Victory Way to ensure nothing shines on the neighborhood north of the proposed site. And in response to a question posed by Ogden regarding a vacant lot directly east of the proposed High Ways building, Kemp said he intends to render it into a parking lot pending future dispensary traffic.

Following further brief discussion, the council thanked Kemp for providing these extra steps in mitigating residential concerns.

“I’m a clean operator,” Kemp said. “I’ve been in the industry since 2014 – no infractions. I want to be a part of Craig. I’ve invested $190,000 into the building so far and the license fees. I want to help you guys, I want you guys to help me.”

“I appreciate it,” he added. 

The vote passed 5-1, with councilor Tony Bohrer voting no. Councilor Paul James, who’s currently employed at a separate Craig dispensary, abstained from voting.

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