Grand Valley cities on hold over marijuana
Little movement seen toward ban of shops after Amendment 64 passage
Now that Colorado voters passed Amendment 64 allowing the recreational use of marijuana, elected officials in cities around the state have a choice.
Should they pass ordinances to ban the sale of marijuana in their jurisdictions?
According to Grand Junction City Attorney John Shaver, city councilors could pass an ordinance at any time and ban marijuana sales in the city. However, the clock is on their side.
“We’re going to have lots of discussion about it,” Shaver said. “At this point we’re more interested in federal law. We’ve prepared some initial opinions about the delay and the opportunity for local control.”
The state has until July to set regulations for marijuana businesses. Businesses selling marijuana couldn’t open until January 2014. Despite the new law, which will go into effect by Dec. 6 at the latest, possession and consumption of marijuana still is against federal law.
Presuming the new law remains unchanged, it’s fair to expect the issue of whether to ban marijuana sales soon will appear on city and town council agendas around the state.
But that conversation hasn’t happened yet in Palisade, Town Administrator Rich Sales said.
Palisade is the only municipality in the Grand Valley in which voters allowed a store to sell medical marijuana.
Still, the issue of whether the town should allow sales of recreational marijuana isn’t on the town’s next meeting agenda, Sales said.
“We’re in a wait and see pattern,” he said, regarding the issue.
Talks also haven’t started yet at the other side of the valley, in Fruita.
Fruita was the first city in Mesa County to deal with the medical marijuana issue. Medical marijuana was first regulated and taxed, but no stores set up shop. Then, retail sales of medical marijuana were banned.
“I don’t believe it will be discussed in next City Council meeting,” City Manager Clint Kinney said. “There are some people who are adamantly opposed to marijuana. Others are not adamantly opposed it. It will be an interesting discussion to have.”
Grand Junction Mayor Bill Pitts said he’s been against medical marijuana sales and also is against the sales of marijuana. However. council members haven’t yet discussed their options.
“I’m against it in any fashion,” he said. “My position hasn’t changed at all.”
Councilor Laura Luke said she hasn’t made up her mind about whether she’d like to see marijuana sales in Grand Junction.
“I’m going to do what my public voices to me,” she said. “I trust the people that I represent. They’ll let me know.”
ban marijuana sales soon will appear on city and town council agendas around the state.