Steamboat City Council narrowly approves retail marijuana license for Golden Leaf

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— After a bumpy ride through the licensing process that continued Tuesday night in Centennial Hall, Golden Leaf is poised to become the second retail marijuana store to open in Steamboat Springs.

But unlike the first retail pot shop that opened here in January to a long line, the latest applicant did not earn the unanimous backing of the city's marijuana licensing authority.

Three Steamboat Springs City Council members Tuesday wanted to table their vote on Golden Leaf's retail application until an open state investigation into the store's medical operations was finished and the consequences were known.

Golden Leaf owners have said they have fixed the violations that prompted the state investigation, including a security camera that wasn't aimed at inventory.

However, the investigation gave council President Bart Kounovsky and members Kenny Reisman and Tony Connell enough pause to support tabling the vote on the retail license.

“The public has developed a great deal of trust in how we've been dealing with this issue,” Reisman said about the new marijuana industry in the city. “What we have here is a business that is struggling to get their ducks in a row.”

He said he didn't blame Golden Leaf because the process of getting the marijuana license is so new, but the council would be “missing a step if we gave them their license tonight.”

Despite some previously failed inspections and the difficulties two of the owners of Golden Leaf had in accurately filling out licensing paperwork, city officials recommended approval of the retail license.

Asked by council members about city staff's ongoing reservations about the ownership, Police Chief Joel Rae reaffirmed his commitment to perform regular compliance checks on the new business and make sure owners were following the rules.

“We certainly have the ability and the determination to make sure our establishments are complying with the law,” Rae said.

Walter Magill supported the license, saying that city staff had done a good job ensuring the business was in compliance.

After the tabling vote on Golden Leaf's retail operations failed, 3-4, the council voted, 5-2, to approve the license.

After originally supporting the delay on the vote, Kounovsky said he was comfortable approving the license.

Golden Leaf co-owner Charlie Magnuson said Monday that the store was excited to open, but it still could take a little while before retail sales begin.

He said in addition to the city license, the store still was waiting to get its state license approved and to earn the Routt County Regional Building Department's approval regarding the construction of a separate retail entrance.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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