Council to consider medical pot moratorium

The Grand Junction City Council on Nov. 16 will consider whether to impose a one-year moratorium on licensing medical marijuana dispensaries, as city officials grapple with a proliferation of the industry and the crime that has apparently accompanied it.

Council members unanimously agreed Monday to the hearing date in two weeks. The moratorium would not affect existing dispensaries.

The proposal would temporarily prohibit the issuance of any business permits or sales-tax licenses for “any use, business or activity that is known as or functions as a medical marijuana dispensary and/or a medical marijuana primary care-giver.”

City officials say the moratorium would give them the chance to evaluate the zoning, regulation and licensing of dispensaries. They say they’re concerned about whether a concentration of dispensaries could result in them becoming illegitimate and a front or target for crime.

“While the Council acknowledges the rights of those members of the community that are suffering from a debilitating medical condition to access medical marijuana, the City Council must balance those rights against the need for regulation of the number, the location and the safety practices of those businesses supplying medical marijuana,” the proposed ordinance reads.

Dispensaries popped up on the Western Slope and in the state in recent months after the Colorado Board of Health scrapped the limit on the number of patients a dispensary can have. Voters in 2000 approved Amendment 20, which set up a medical marijuana registry program.

Grand Junction doesn’t have any ordinances regulating medical marijuana shops. All that’s required to open one in the city is a business license and an agreement to collect sales tax.

But the expansion of the nascent industry has come at a cost. Green Natural Solutions, located at 753 Rood Ave., was burglarized twice in two weeks last month and marijuana, glass smoking pipes and cash were stolen.


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