Pot shop

Goodpeople’s Midland Avenue storefront is pictured. The business is a medical-marijuana shop. A recreational-marijuana dispensary is slated to open later this fall in the space upstairs. 

Editor’s note: This story is appearing in this week’s edition of the Roaring Fork Weekly Journal, a sister publication of the Aspen Daily News.

Downtown Basalt will soon be getting a new recreational-marijuana dispensary after the town council voted to approve a retail/recreational marijuana license for Goodpeople, currently a medical-only marijuana dispensary operating out of the 175 Midland Ave.

The approval means that Goodpeople owners Kale Lacroux and Justin Streeb can open their recreational operation in the unit upstairs, which the two have owned since 2008. It also means the end of an expensive, often frustrating process that started when Lacroux and Streeb first applied for a medical-marijuana license over two years ago.

Prior to Tuesday night’s approval, the effort to get both medical and recreational dispensaries into, essentially, one place involved tens of thousands of dollars in application and licensing fees, as well as getting the town of Basalt to add medical marijuana to the list of allowed uses in the downtown vitality zone, which was established in 2009.

That designation means that new uses on the first floor of buildings located on Midland Avenue, Basalt Center Circle and a portion of Two Rivers Road are required to be “community vitality uses,” which include retail, restaurant and personal services. Though recreational marijuana was an allowed use, medical marijuana was not.

Lacroux and Streeb also faced opposition from four of the other seven tenants in their eight-unit building, who went to the town in an effort to stop the dispensary from opening. On top of that, within 24 hours of announcing that he’d applied for the medical-marijuana license in 2017, Lacroux claimed his longtime bank suddenly closed all of his business and personal accounts.

Despite all that, Lacroux and Streeb persevered and, after a two-year process, opened Goodpeople’s medical dispensary on July 1. Compared to that saga, getting the recreational license, which the duo only applied for on June 5, was a relative breeze, and Tuesday’s final approval was more or less perfunctory.

Town clerk Pam Schilling opened the proceedings by noting that Lacroux and Streeb had submitted all the necessary paperwork, paid their fees and already passed the required state and local background checks with the opening of the medical-marijuana dispensary. Thus, the role of the council was to decide if Lacroux and Streeb were of “good moral character, which was already established in their application for a medical facility at the same location,” according to Schilling.

Lacroux and Streeb were both present for the hearing and noted that they had submitted an application with the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division on Aug. 7, which they expect to be approved by Oct. 7. Once that happens, they plan to be open to anyone 21 or older between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Saturdays, and 10 a.m. and 6 p.m on Sundays.

“It’ll be very much a similar setup upstairs and downstairs — just the difference between medical and recreational — but with similar products from the same places,” Lacroux said. “We’ve kind of got all the parts and pieces in place, and we’re trying to move as quickly as possible to try to generate some tax revenue.”

Mayor Jacque Whitsitt opened the floor to public comments, but none were forthcoming, so Councilman Auden Schendler moved that the license be approved. Councilman Bill Infante seconded the motion, and all those who voted were in favor of approval. Councilman Ryan Slack was absent, and councilwomen Jennifer Riffle and Katie Schwoerer abstained.

When Goodpeople’s recreational business opens later this fall, it will join Roots RX, located at 165 Southside Drive, as the town’s only recreational dispensaries.

Todd Hartley writes for the Aspen Daily News. He can be reached at todd@aspendailynews.com.