Palisade places temporary ban on marijuana sales, cultivation

Although Palisade is home to the only facility selling medical marijuana in the Grand Valley, the town’s trustees decided at Tuesday night’s meeting to temporarily ban retail sales of recreational marijuana.

The moratorium is in effect until Jan. 2, a timeline set so the town can get a better sense of how state regulations shake out, Trustee David Adams said Wednesday.

“This gives everybody a chance to step back and think before making a decision that some people may regret or not regret,” Adams said.

In November, Colorado voters passed Amendment 64, which allows for the recreational use of small amounts of marijuana for adults over 21. By Jan. 1, 2014, marijuana can be sold through state-licensed stores only if communities where the stores are located allow it. Or, municipalities can ban the retail sale of marijuana until the communities have time to draft their own ordinances.

Municipalities have until Oct. 1 to decide whether they will allow retail sales within their limits. That’s the date the state can start accepting applications for retail facilities.

The issue of whether Palisade will allow the retail sale of marijuana also can go to the voters.

Mayor Roger Granat said it’s too early for the town to know what the state is going to do with regulations so the safer bet is to put the moratorium in place.

“We need to find out just exactly what the state’s going to do,” Granat said.

Included in the moratorium is a halt for now on the manufacturing, testing and cultivation of marijuana in town limits. Granat said local law enforcement has not had one complaint about medical marijuana dispensary Colorado Alternative Healthcare.

“As far as citizens, they’re so inconspicuous,” he said of people who purchase medical marijuana from the store. “They don’t stand on the corner like some of these guys. If there was a newcomer in Palisade you’d have to take them over there and show them where the store was.”

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