Council likely to ban pot sales within city of Grand Junction

Attention, all pot smokers: don’t expect to buy marijuana while doing your shopping in Grand Junction.

Grand Junction’s city council is expected to ban the retail sale of weed in the coming weeks. It is legal for adults in Colorado to use and possess small amounts of the drug.

“I think the local community vote on this made it clear,” Councilor Duncan McArthur said at a meeting Monday. “Even though it became legal, I don’t think the electorate is interested in retail shops in the community.”

Councilors plan to introduce the ordinance during Wednesday’s council meeting and will follow up by hosting a public meeting on the issue Aug. 21.

If passed, the ordinance will prohibit centers for cultivation, manufacturing, testing and retail stores that sell marijuana in the city limits. Councilors also could remand the decision to voters.

The city could lose out on an estimated $136,000 to $222,000 a year in local and state tax revenues by banning marijuana sales here. Those figures are based on the potential passage of a statewide marijuana excise and sales tax bill that is headed to voters in November.

“From one point of view, an ordinance prohibiting marijuana cultivation, retail, manufacturing and testing operations could be seen as inhibiting economic growth, economic diversity and commercial and industrial development,” according to city documents about the proposed ordinance.

“From another point of view, however, marijuana-related commercial and industrial activity can have deleterious effects on the city’s commerce, culture and tourism. Local voters have tended to indicate that they do not consider marijuana-related businesses to be appropriate for the community because of the real and potential negative primary and secondary effects of marijuana-related activity.”

At its peak, 28 medical marijuana facilities sold marijuana through storefronts in Mesa County.

In 2011, city and county voters decided to ban the retail sale of medical marijuana. While Amendment 64 passed with statewide approval in November of last year, a majority, or 53 percent, of Mesa County residents voted against it.

Amendment 64, which allows adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and to cultivate as many as six plants, passed statewide by 55 percent of Colorado voters.

If passed, Grand Junction’s ordinance to ban the sale and production of marijuana follows on the heels of bans among municipalities across the state. Municipalities have until Oct. 1 to institute bans.

At that time, businesses can begin the licensing process to open up marijuana shops and other marijuana-related businesses.


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