The passage of Amendment 64 to legalize recreational marijuana has caught local lawmakers by surprise. Delta County and its towns had by council action or votes by the people previously banned medical marijuana commercial facilities.
Voters statewide last Tuesday approved the legal use of small amounts of marijuana for pleasure rather than just medical reasons and paved the way for the Department of Revenue to establish an excise tax on its use and for the legislature to create the laws to regulate commercial operations for cultivation and retail sales.
Gov. John Hickenlooper is being advised by the Justice Department concerning the voters decision because marijuana is still illegal by federal law.
Hotchkiss Mayor Wendell Koontz asked town attorney Jim Briscoe to comment on the meaning of it all for the town.
"I'm in a wait and see mode," Briscoe said. "We need to see what the federal government will do. And the second, is that it's up to the state legislature to adopt legislation implementing the affect of the amendment. The municipalities have until the first of July to address how they individually might deal with the marijuana industry from the point of excluding it to regulating it under state guidance."
He concluded, "So, I'm not getting excited at this point. I think there is an equal chance we won't have to deal with it at this point either because the federal government will cause it to be held up or based on [state legislation]. Then we can take our action after we know what the state law is going to be."blog comments powered by Disqus