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Ice cream vs. pot: Neighborhood group hopes to weed out dispensary proposal near iconic dessert shop

Bonnie Brae Ice Cream getting new neighbor, homeowners continue fight against proposal
Bonnie Brae Ice Cream reopens
Posted at 5:39 PM, Jul 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-15 19:40:47-04

DENVER — Bonnie Brae might be the most iconic ice cream shop in Denver.

“A wonderful ice cream store that all these families take their kids to regularly,” said Sarah Bagal, a mother of two who lives in Wash Park East.

Which is why Bagal is fighting a proposed pot shop that would sit next door to Bonnie Brae Ice Cream and across the street from a public library.

“You’re not allowed to put (a dispensary) next to a school, so what’s different about a public library where kids go for tutoring? And field trips? And next to an ice cream store where they all hang out?” Bagal said.

Bagal, her neighbor Pascale Heimonet and others are leading an effort to block the dispensary from moving in.

“We know it’s not legal to smoke pot outside of the store, but they will do it,” Heimonet said.

Heimonet also worries about the crime.

“Dispensaries have small space and high security,” Heimonet said. “It’s about 50% of cannabis stores in Denver that have been hit with robberies. That’s a lot.”

But others argue the two can co-exist.

“They have to go in and make their purchases, and then they leave and go on about their business,” said a woman named Sara sitting outside the ice cream shop. “They can’t be sitting outside with a joint. They can’t do that.”

“I’m pretty indifferent just because dispensaries are all over Colorado. And you have a liquor store right next door, and that would have the same kind of requirements,” said another woman outside the ice cream shop.

Bagal argues the liquor store is different.

“You can bring your child into a liquor store, you can’t bring your child into a marijuana store,” Bagal said.

But the liquor store, Brindle and Oak Wedding and Events and Bonnie Brae Ice Cream have all welcomed the pot shop to the block, and believe the impact on families and kids would be minimal.

Bagal and Heimonet are calling on neighbors to petition the courts to block the pot shop and are asking for neighbors to e-mail their group at to get involved.

“It just makes no sense to have this next to an ice cream shop,” Bagal said.