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Marijuana company may back out of K2

By NATALIE MARTIN

The company attempting to purchase the K2 building and transform it into a factory to produce edible marijuana products may give up its effort on Vashon, a spokesman for the company, Bakkhos Holding, announced last weekend.

Dan Anglin, who is also a managing partner with EdiPure, wrote on Facebook on Saturday that unless King County moves more quickly to amend its comprehensive plan to allow marijuana business at K2, Bakkhos will back out of its contract to purchase the property.

In an interview Monday, Anglin confirmed the development and said he recently learned the council’s consideration of the Vashon Town Plan amendment that would allow marijuana business within the boundaries of plan would take longer than Bakkhos originally expected. What’s more, the process to obtain a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for the property could take 6 to 12 months, he said. Adding time for construction, that puts a potential opening date for the business far beyond what Bakkhos is willing to consider, he said.

“This decision is based solely on the fact that we have no idea when the county will actually take the vote on fixing the issue, and how long the CUP process will take,” Anglin posted in a comment on Facebook Saturday. He went on to write “We love the Island, but the time has come to find a plan B.”

County officials, however, say they’ve not recently changed their message about how long the process to open a marijuana business at K2 will take and so far there have been no delays.

Joe McDermott, Vashon’s representative on the King County Council, said the town plan amendment is moving through the council just as quickly as any proposal would and is scheduled to go before the Transportation, Economy and Environment (TrEE) Committee on April 1. It will be considered in the committee — which meets twice a month — for two or three meetings before the committee makes a recommendation and sends it on to the full council for a vote.

“It’s a pretty set legislative process,” McDermott said.

Noting that he isn’t the committee chair so he didn’t set the agenda, McDermott said he expects the amendment could be scheduled for a public hearing and voted on by the full council as soon as April 28 and that the committee isn’t likely to move any faster.

“I think this is part of the due diligence of legislative work that people expect the council to do,” he said.

Anglin said he also recently found out that the process to obtain a CUP for the K2 building could take longer than Bakkhos had hoped. Anglin said they were told by King County that the company could expedite a CUP, but more recently learned that was no longer possible due to staffing cuts at the Department of Permitting and Environmental Review (DPER).

Ty Peterson, a product line manager at DPER who has been working with new marijuana businesses, said he couldn’t speak to the staffing at the department but said that it is still possible to expedite parts of the CUP process for extra fees. However, he said county representatives would not have promised Bakkhos any process could be rushed until they were in the acutal permitting process and DPER could look at its current caseload and make a decision.

A typical CUP process takes around six months, Peterson said, though an appeal can delay it. He said he expects an application at the K2 building would actually move more quickly because, unlike most other CUP applicants, the building already exists and has been used for an industrial purpose in the past, meaning there are fewer new impacts to consider.

“You’re not actually imposing any new buildings,” he said. “There’s not a new impact in that regard.”

The announcement that Bakkhos is reconsidering its K2 purchase comes as the company has lost two of its three original investors and apparently has struggled to submit documents in a timely fashion to the state Liquor Control Board (LCB), which is considering its marijuana business license application.

Two of the original three owners of Bakkhos Holding, men who were also the founders of Green Cross Washington, are no longer involved in the company. Green Cross Washington makes EdiPure-brand edible marijuana products for sale in the medical marijuana market.

The Beachcomber learned last month through public documents available from the Liquor Control Board that Michael Rosen, a Mercer Island attorney, had pulled out of the company. Since then, the Secretary of State website has also been updated to show that Scott Bergin, the founder of EdiPure, is also no longer an investor. Bergin, who said he moved from Colorado to start the new marijuana business in Washington, was the only Bakkhos owner to attend King County’s public meeting last month, where talked about the company and spoke in favor of the town plan amendment. In previous Secretary of State documents, Bergin listed the same Bainbridge Island address as Daniel Griffin, the company’s third investor, who also moved from Colorado.

The Secretary of State website now lists just Griffin and a Seattle man named Scott Lief as the company’s officers.

Anglin confirmed that Bergin is no longer involved with Bakkhos but has declined to comment on either man’s departure.

According to a March 7 letter to Bakkhos Holding from Kimberly Chabot, a marijuana licensing investigator at the LCB, the company recently failed to submit documents requested by the state as part of its application process. In the short letter, Chabot writes “I am unable to continue processing your marijuana license application because you have not yet submitted any documents I have requested.”

Chabot writes that if she doesn’t receive the documents by March 14, “I will assume you are no longer interested in proceeding and your application may be administratively closed.”

According to a previous letter to Bakkhos from Chabot dated Jan. 24, documents requested by the state of Bakkhos included an operating plan, source-of-funds statements and financial statements, tax returns and copies of owners’ drivers’ licenses and utility bills. The letter said the documents were due in four weeks.

Reached last week, Mikhail Carpenter, an LCB spokesman, said he couldn’t say whether Bakkhos has now submitted the required documents, as marijuana license investigators are simply too busy to respond to requests for updates on licenses.

Anglin, when asked if Bakkhos had submitted all the required paperwork, declined to comment but did say that the application is still open and active.

The news that Bakkhos may end its effort to manufacture EdiPure-brand marijuana-infused candy and other edibles at K2 came via Facebook Saturday, when  Shango Los, who heads the Vashon Island Marijuana Entrepreneurs Alliance (VIMEA) spoke with Anglin and quickly posted the a link to a VIMEA blog titled “Last gasp for K2 on Vashon Island.” In the blog, posted on the Facebook group VashonAll, Los largely blames islanders who have opposed Bakkhos, saying they’ve delayed the county council’s process, and calls for action from EdiPure supporters.

Anglin elaborated on the situation in his own comments, and many others commented on the post, saying they wanted to help and would contact county councilmembers to ask them to move quickly.

On Monday evening, a banner went up over one of the for sale signs at K2 that read “Save EdiPure” and directed people to a Facebook page with the same name. As of press time, that page had 46 likes. And according to Los, a group planned to be outside of K2 Tuesday after press deadline, stopping passersby and asking them to contact King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski, who chairs to TrEE Committee, to ask him to fast track the amendment.

“It looked very dire; it looked very grim, and now it looks like there is a chance,” Anglin said on Monday. “The ball is in the council’s court.”

However, told that McDermott expected the amendment would be considered at two or three TrEE Committee hearings before moving to the full council, Anglin said, “That would be too long.” He noted one TrEE committee meeting was already cancelled last month and he believes the committee chair supports taking several meetings to consider the proposal.

“Enough is enough,” he said.

McDermott said it is unlikely the council will move the proposal through any faster than normal, despite requests from islanders, adding that he’s also heard from many who believe the county is acting too quickly. He said he still believes the amendment has support on the council, but it will go through the normal process.

“We’re going to be as diligent with this and as careful with this as we are with anything,” he said. “I’m not expediting it, nor am I stalling it, and people are concerned that both are happening.”

Anglin said Bakkhos would likely hold off on making a final decision about K2 until after the April 1 TrEE Committee meeting.

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