Medical pot applicant denied

An applicant to be manager of a marijuana medical dispensary, Nature’s Own Wellness Center, was rejected by the Local Licensing Authority on Tuesday after admitting “to very bizarre behavior, indeed,” while under the influence of alcohol.

James Casey Steindler, a student at Fort Lewis College, acknowledged a pattern of arrests for drunken driving as well as disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He was once found throwing bicycles and “kicking cars in the street,” said board member Bob Ledger, citing a police background report.

Steindler also said he spent a week in the La Plata County jail after demonstrating drunken behavior in 2010. “Yes, my alcohol level was very high to be ridiculous,” Steindler said.

He said he was “very immature,” between 19 and 20 years old, when the incidents occurred. He has abstained from alcohol for more than a year.

Ron LeBlanc, city manager and chairman of the board that regulates alcohol and medical marijuana, said the board tries to be “reasonable,” often overlooking job applicants’ criminal records that are five years or older, but could not ignore the trouble he caused police, needing two officers to subdue him.

The board voted 3-0 to reject his application to be a manager at Nature’s Own Wellness Center, 927 Colorado Highway 3.

Steindler, who will graduate in December, is a political science major who plans to be either a high school social studies teacher or “go into public policy.”

This prompted Ledger to wonder if the position of a medical marijuana manager was a “résumé builder,” but Steindler said he was interested in using the job as an internship or educational opportunity. He would go to government meetings on marijuana to learn more about public policy.

jhaug@durangoherald.com