One of Denver’s first recreational cannabis dispensaries is suing its landlord, accusing him of unlawfully blocking the dispensary from buying the South Broadway property it has rented since legalization.
Colorado Harvest Co. at 1568 S. Broadway, along the city’s so-called “Green Mile” of marijuana businesses, was one of Denver’s initial dozen recreational dispensaries in 2014.
The building it occupies was owned then and is owned now by Paul Doherty, an insurance broker in Centennial who bought it for $300,000 in 2005, city records show.
In October 2014, Colorado Harvest merged with Evergreen Apothecary LLC, which previously held the lease at 1568 S. Broadway. Colorado Harvest then signed an amended lease and has been dutifully paying rent to Doherty ever since, according to its lawsuit.
That lease allows Colorado Harvest to buy the property for $600,000. So, for seven months in 2014 and 2015, Colorado Harvest made monthly payments towards the purchase. But Doherty kept that $62,847 and said he wouldn’t sell, according to Colorado Harvest’s lawsuit.
More recently, he has refused to acknowledge that Colorado Harvest is the tenant and accused Evergreen Apothecary, a defunct company, of defaulting on its lease. This is despite signing a lease in October 2014 that made Colorado Harvest the tenant, that company claims.
Doherty has reportedly told Colorado Harvest that he never signed the 2014 amended lease and that his signature was forged by someone at Colorado Harvest, according to the cannabis company. Colorado Harvest and its co-owner Tim Cullen deny the allegation.
Reached by email, Doherty declined to comment on Colorado Harvest’s lawsuit.
That lawsuit, filed Jan. 5 in Denver District Court, asks Judge Stephanie Scoville to declare that Colorado Harvest is the tenant of 1568 S. Broadway and therefore has a right to buy it.
The dispute is time-sensitive, according to Colorado Harvest, because it is set to renew its state marijuana license later this year. In order to do so, it must prove it has a lease signed for one year after the renewal. But its lease at 1568 S. Broadway expires in summer 2024.
Colorado Harvest also has dispensaries in Aurora and Denver’s Ruby Hill neighborhood, according to its website. The company is represented by attorney Jason Robinson with the Denver law firm Fairfield and Woods. Robinson declined to comment on the pending litigation.
Doherty is represented by attorney Merc Pittinos with the Denver law firm Moye White.