Pot shop worries neighbor
Dispensary moving in near church, private school
The front doors stay open weekdays.
Neal Kaspar minds some 124 preschool-through-eighth-grade students, many of whom spend their recess time at Lutheran Church and School of Messiah, 840 N. 11th St., on the school’s playground, which is enclosed by a fence.
“I have enough issues to deal with in terms of safety at a school, particularly a school that’s also a church and has parishioners coming and going all the time,” said Kaspar, administrator and principal at Messiah.
When word spread of a medical marijuana dispensary prepping to open across the street from the school’s playground, Kaspar started researching laws and his options.
What he found was a regulatory environment for a medical marijuana industry that leaves him, and the school, with no options.
“We will coexist,” Kaspar said. “This has the potential to create problems near children I don’t wish to see.
“In a perfect world, we would at least have some notification a business was coming, and I’d appreciate some restriction on the proximity these places can be to a school, playground or anywhere children are going to be.”
Kaspar said a Realtor, who happens to serve on the church’s board, learned about the arrival of MedTech Modern Care and Wellness Systems, 721 N. 12th St., within a few hundred feet of the school’s playground.
MedTech owner Gregg Davis, 26, said he aims to open for business next Friday. While saying he understands Kaspar’s concerns, Davis said the school’s not getting a bum neighbor.
“There will be absolutely no product intake at the store or out in the parking lot,” Davis said, adding, “We don’t use the word ‘dispensary.’ “
Davis said the store will operate more as a medical clinic, offering medical-equipment supplies, and he plans to recruit medical-service providers such as massage therapists or chiropractors to occupy four offices inside the remodeled building. Freshly carpeted, with new doors, one room in the business on Thursday already had smoking pipes sitting in a display case.
After he was contacted by The Daily Sentinel, Davis and his staff were in touch with the company printing signs and business cards, telling them to remove references to “integrating medical marijuana.”
The location will be the fourth in Grand Junction for Davis since he first obtained a city sales tax license to sell medical marijuana in May 2009, according to city records.
City spokeswoman Sam Rainguet said Davis currently holds two valid licenses, including MedTech and Mesa Alternative Health and Wellness, 605 Grand Ave.
Davis opened and closed dispensaries at two other locations, and transferred the sales tax licenses to 605 Grand Ave., and the soon-to-open shop at 721 N. 12th St., Rainguet said.
To transfer the licenses, sales tax from the old locations must be paid up, and the city’s planning department must approve the new locations, she said.
The Grand Junction City Council in December enacted a 12-month moratorium on the issuance of new sales tax licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries, buying time in anticipation that state lawmakers will enact new regulations for the industry.