The Orchard City Town Board acting on Dec. 12 adopted an emergency ordinance placing an immediate moratorium on businesses catering to recreational marijuana use in the community.
The ordinance imposes a temporary moratorium on the "operation of marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana product manufacturing facilities, marijuana testing facilities or retail stores."
The businesses are called collectively "marijuana facilities." The voter approved Amendment 64 legalizes the recreational use of medical marijuana in Colorado, though such use remains against federal laws.
The Cedaredge Town Board is also considering its options in regard to Amendment 64 and may consider specific measures in January.
Adopted as an emergency ordinance, the Orchard City measure took effect immediately upon passage by a unanimous vote.
Mayor Don Suppes noted that it is relatively simple for the trustees to impose the temporary moratorium now: the language in Amendment 64, passed by voters at the Nov. 6 general election, allows the town to do so. Waiting for a marijuana facility to open and then trying to ban the facility if trustees find the public opposes it is a much more difficult process, Suppes said.
Orchard City precincts 9 and 10 voted soundly against Amendment 64, according to the county elections department.
In precinct 9, the tally was 338 in favor (40.19 percent), and 503 against (59.81 percent).
In precinct 10 the vote went 379 in favor (40.02 percent), and 568 against (59.98 percent).
Trustee Gale Doudy noted that the state attorney general has said that local governments are free to use their own "opt out" authority on establishment of marijuana facilities in their jurisdictions until the Legislature develops statutory rules for recreational marijuana. "Language in the bill does give municipalities the ability to opt out," Doudy said.
He also pointed out that the City of Boulder is moving forward to allow marijuana facilities because its citizens voted in favor of Amendment 64. "Our constituents voted no, and we are following their will," Doudy added
The town's moratorium will be in effect until Aug. 1, or until other regulations are adopted to supersede it or it is repealed by the board. It is expected that the legislature and state agencies will provide sufficient statutory guidance for the town trustees to adopt final regulations regarding marijuana facilities by the Aug. 1 deadline.
The Aug. 1 date provides a reasonable length of time and no longer than necessary for the town to properly investigate, develop, adopt and implement appropriate regulations with respect to marijuana facilities, according to the ordinance.
The town measure directs staff "to investigate and prepare proposed regulations before the temporary moratorium expires." Also, staff is directed to "prepare appropriate regulations (concerning) the establishment and operation of marijuana facilities for consideration by the town council."
In addition, the staff is prohibited from accepting or processing any applications, permits or other procedures for marijuana facilities during the moratorium.
Before the Aug. 1 expiration of the moratorium, the town attorney is directed to present options to the town including the ability of the town to prohibit the establishment or operation of marijuana facilities within the town limits.blog comments powered by Disqus