The Pitkin County commissioners on Wednesday approved a one-year license to the owners of the STASH pot store for a “retail marijuana cultivation facility” located on the north side of the Roaring Fork River near the intersection of Snowmass Creek Road and Highway 82.
The commissioners on March 4 approved a one-year license for STASH’s retail store in the Aspen Airport Business Center, but the board delayed the approval of the associated cultivation license, pending sign-off from the Basalt fire marshal, which came Wednesday.
Both licenses were granted to K.I.N.D. Wellness, LLC, which is owned by Good People, LLC. Shawna and Garrett Patrick of Old Snowmass own Good People, LLC.
The grow facility is in a 2,400-square-foot barn next to a residence owned by the Garrett family.
The retail license for STASH was approved last week with a 5-0 vote by the county commissioners, but the cultivation license was approved on Wednesday by only a 3-1 vote.
Commissioner Steve Child was not in attendance at Wednesday’s board meeting and commissioner George Newman said he couldn’t support the STASH cultivation license because he feels it is a commercial use in a residential area.
“We have the same dilemma as we had a few weeks ago,” Newman said. “We have a residential property that is being used for commercial.”
On Feb. 12, the commissioners unanimously denied an application from Ron Radtke for 19,000 square feet of pot-producing greenhouses on a residential lot on Lower River Road in Snowmass Canyon.
The Woody Creek Caucus was strongly opposed to the proposal, which was technically about an exemption for the greenhouse structures, but in the minds of many neighbors it was clearly about growing pot.
The STASH grow site, which is about three miles downvalley from Radtke’s proposed site, is outside of the Woody Creek Caucus boundary.
There were no public comments for or against STASH’s proposed cultivation facility at Wednesday’s hearing.
In August, the county approved 25,000 square feet of pot greenhouses just off of Highway 82, about 1.5 miles west of the STASH grow site.
Newman brought up his concerns about the commercial nature of the STASH operation after a discussion about the commercial-grade sprinkler system required for fire suppression in the growing facility.
“This is more like a tobacco processing facility, which brings us into the commercial code,” said Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock in explaining the sprinkler-system upgrade.
In response to Newman’s concerns about agricultural versus commercial use, Lance Clarke, the county’s assistant community development director, said almost all of the county’s zoning allows residential and agricultural uses to occur in the same places — and that the county considers growing pot to be an agricultural pursuit, even if it’s grown indoors under lights.
“Commercial agriculture is still agriculture,” Clarke noted. “All agriculture is basically commercial.”
Newman was unconvinced.
“These are all commercial operations and they should fit within our zoning designations,” he said.
He pointed out that the STASH grow facility was outside of any formal neighborhood caucus area and was guided by the county’s 1987 downvalley master plan, which seeks to protect rural values.
Given that concern, Newman said he couldn’t support the cultivation license for STASH.
The Patricks began growing medical marijuana in their family’s barn in 2010 as Good People, LLC, in association with K.I.N.D. Wellness, LLC, which operated the STASH medical retail store at the ABC.
In 2011, Good People, LLC bought K.I.N.D. Wellness, LLC, and has operated both the grow site and the store since then. STASH is now just a grower and seller of recreational marijuana and has dropped its medical licenses.
With a medical cultivation license, STASH could grow 500 plants. Now it can grow 3,500.
According to Patrick Garrett, under their management, there have been no complaints about or issues with the STASH store or its grow operation.
Editor’s note: This article was produced in collaboration with the Aspen Daily News, which published it on Thursday, March 13, 2014.