Judge rejects lawsuit seeking to block Bonnie Brae’s first pot shop

The Denver Post
Wed, May 3

A Denver judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by eight people who live near Bonnie Brae, clearing the way for that neighborhood’s first dispensary to open next month.

District Court Judge Christopher Baumann ruled April 28 that the residents’ Dec. 12 lawsuit was filed one week too late and therefore outside a 28-day statute of limitations.

“This court is not in receipt of any competent evidence to justify an alternative finding,” he wrote.

The judge’s order is a win for Silver Stem Fine Cannabis, which asked the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses last March to let it transfer one of its existing retail and medical licenses to 2331 E. Ohio Ave., just around the corner from Bonnie Brae Ice Cream.

Public hearings were held over two days in June, after which a hearing officer recommended that Excise and Licenses approve the application. On Nov. 7, it was approved.

“We are looking forward to opening our Silver Stem store in the Bonnie Brae neighborhood next month,” said Stan Zislis, chief business development officer at Silver Stem.

“We have begun construction to make our store a welcoming member of the neighborhood. We want to thank all of the neighbors who supported us as we went through this licensing process and look forward to serving you all really soon,” Zislis added in a statement.

Under state law, residents can ask a judge to review city licensing decisions by filing a complaint within four weeks of the decision. In the Bonnie Brae case, that meant by Dec. 5.

On Dec. 12, the eight residents — seven men and one woman, all of whom live within five blocks of the future Silver Stem location — filed their complaint. They accused Excise and Licenses of ignoring residents who are opposed to the cannabis dispensary.

“The existence of a marijuana store in their neighborhood is against their needs and desires and will negatively impact their neighborhood,” the lawsuit stated.

In his order Friday, Baumann did not determine whether the city was right or wrong to approve the license, only that the complaint was filed too late and therefore had to be dismissed.

The plaintiffs were Mark Gould, Sarah Kienast, Rohan Ambli, Brendan Murphy, Robert Ghia, Steven Dupont, Jeffrey Thomas and Peter Coursey. They were represented by attorney Robert Burk with the Centennial law firm Burk & Burk, who declined to comment.

Silver Stem was represented by Adam Stapen with the firm Dill Dill Carr Stonbraker & Hutchings in Denver. The Department of Excise and Licenses was represented by Assistant City Attorneys Gennevieve St. Leger and Reginald Nubine. They declined to comment.

This story was reported by our partner BusinessDen.

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