The Paonia Board of Trustees held a one-hour work session on clarifying their options regarding the designation of a local authority and a moratorium until an election on the retail marijuana issue could be held in November 2014.
Jim Briscoe, town attorney, explained that the local authority would be the contact person for the state when someone applied for a license to open a marijuana retail establishment, a cultivation or manufacturing facility.
The local authority would not have authority to approve or disapprove an application, but only tell the state about local zoning or other regulations developed.
He pointed out that the town was opening itself up to the possibility of a lawsuit requesting damages if in the election the voters disapproved of allowing retail establishments when the state had previously approved their license to operate one.
Trustee Eric Goold said the town ordinance should have wording that businesses could be disallowed by the Nov. 20, 2014, election. Briscoe said the town would have a better defense if that was done.
The town is allowed to have an ordinance more stringent than the state. If the town council approved having a moratorium until the election, then the state would not allow anyone to receive a license to open a retail marijuana shop within town limits.
Trustee Ross King said the people approved Amendment 64 and didn't see a need for another ballot issue for Paonia.
Goold responded that Amendment 64 had two components. One was to allow the recreational use of marijuana in limited amounts, and the second was to allow towns to decide if they wanted retail establishments.
Trustee Brian Ayers added that someone could vote to approve the state amendment while not wanting retail shops in their town.
No action was taken on the local authority or the moratorium during the town council meeting that followed. A great deal of public comment was taken. The majority was in favor of a moratorium until the 2014 election or an all out ban of retail establishments.
The council is expected to make a decision at its Sept. 10 meeting which will start at 7 p.m.blog comments powered by Disqus