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Residents Pack Wheat Ridge Meeting In Debate Over Marijuana Shops In City

By Austin Briggs | Denver Post

It was standing room only Monday night at Wheat Ridge council chambers as hundreds of residents packed an overflow room, loitered in hallways and stood against back walls to hear what the city plans to do about the local marijuana industry.

Many had shown up after hearing false rumors about a potential marijuana growhouse on 38th Avenue and Miller Street.

The location met all zoning requirements but drew the ire of residents because it would have been in a high-traffic area frequented by students.

"I'm a proud person who loves to trailblaze and be one of the pioneers in a new industry," said Chronic Therapy dispensary owner Sandy Bedard, mentioning the 23 people her company employs. "Entrepreneurs such as myself can normally only dream of such an opportunity I get to live today."

Citizen concerns about marijuana's proximity to schools, safety issues and odor complaints prompted what Mayor Joyce Jay said was a need for a second look at zoning regulations.

A 90-day moratorium on new marijuana applications has been in place since Aug. 18.

Current Wheat Ridge regulations require pot shops to be located at least 1,000 feet away from a school, residential child care facilities, drug treatment facilities or a college, university or seminary. They're also required to be ¾ of a mile away from each other.

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Background Photo Credit: Kasia Broussalian © 2015