Louisville, Lafayette push for extensions of pot-dispensary moratoriums
Boulder: Dispensaries must be licensed by the city and are prohibited from operating within 500 feet of a school or day-care center. No marijuana business can operate in areas that have three or more other marijuana businesses within 500 feet.
Longmont: Moratorium on new dispensaries effective until June 30, 2011.
Superior: Dispensaries are banned.
Erie: Moratorium on new dispensaries effective until Oct. 6.
Louisville: City Council passed on first reading an extension of a moratorium through March 31.
Lafayette: City Council passed on first reading an extension of a moratorium through June 30, 2011.
Lyons: Moratorium on new dispensaries effective until Sept. 10.
Boulder County: Dispensaries allowed only in areas zoned as transitional, commercial, light industrial and general industrial. No marijuana business allowed within 1,000 feet of child-care facilities, schools or drug and alcohol treatment centers. Medical marijuana centers are also banned within 500 feet of one another.
Whether Superior's groundbreaking decision earlier this week to ban medical marijuana dispensaries prompts neighboring cities in eastern Boulder County to do the same is yet to be seen.
City councils in both Louisville and Lafayette voted on a first reading Tuesday night to extend into next year their moratoriums on new dispensaries opening shop, but there was no initial indication they were looking to impose their own outright bans.
"I don't see Louisville banning marijuana stores because there are two already in existence," Louisville Mayor Chuck Sisk said.
He said the city would be looking at "what's best for Louisville" as it tries to figure out what kind of regulations to place on medical marijuana dispensaries in town.
In Lafayette, which also has two operating dispensaries, Mayor Chris Cameron said a permanent ban on dispensaries in her city would be "unlikely," but she said "nothing is off the table."
Lafayette will be looking at what other communities are doing, she said, and assess how those decisions are working for them.
"Action taken by neighboring communities on medical marijuana centers is something we'll consider," the mayor said. "We'll definitely be influenced by what's going on around us."
Louisville's moratorium would last until March 31, while Lafayette's moratorium would expire June 30, 2011. Each city council will cast a final vote on the extension in a few weeks.
Municipalities all over Colorado have begun figuring out how to regulate dispensaries after the state passed legislation last month placing rules and requirements on large-scale sellers of medical marijuana. The state also allowed individual municipalities to prohibit dispensaries altogether.
On Monday, Superior became the first community in Colorado to ban medical marijuana dispensaries since Gov. Bill Ritter signed the legislation into law last week.
Vail had already imposed a ban on June 1, and several other cities and towns in the state, including Greenwood Village and Aurora, are in the process of outlawing dispensaries or bringing that decision to their voters via a ballot measure.
Colorado voters passed an amendment in 2000 legalizing marijuana for medical use, but specific rules and regulations regarding how marijuana is sold and grown have come more slowly.
Several Old Town Lafayette residents complained to city leaders earlier this month that they had noticed clients of 420Highways, a medical marijuana dispensary on East Simpson Street, loitering and smoking pot in their cars out on the street.
Police stepped up their patrols over the last two weeks -- each officer was asked to drive through the neighborhood three times per shift -- but no one was caught using marijuana in public, said Lafayette Police Cmdr. Rick Bashor.
Bashor said the neighborhood complaints came from a few blocks south of where the dispensary is located. There was no indication that 420Highways' clients were responsible for any criminal activity, he said.
Veronica Carpio, who owns 420Highways, said she is very strict with her clientele when it comes to using marijuana responsibly and legally.
She said if Lafayette does decide to ban dispensaries, it will be harming not just city residents who buy pot from her, but also patients from surrounding communities who have made her their caregiver.
For now, Carpio is hopeful that Lafayette will craft dispensary regulations, not impose a ban.
"I do believe the city backs me," she said.
Ciara Cooper, co-owner of Ka Tet Wellness Services at the intersection of Baseline Road and U.S. 287, said Lafayette's leaders had been "open-minded" in their discussions over what to do about medical marijuana dispensaries.
She doesn't expect the city to ban marijuana vending businesses like hers.
Lost in the discussion about medical marijuana regulations, she said, is the sales tax revenue municipalities take in from dispensaries.
"I would certainly hope that cities would value that revenue," Cooper said.
Laurel Alterman, owner of AlterMeds in Louisville's Colony Square Shopping Center, described the ban passed by Superior as indicative of a widespread "reefer madness mentality" that many communities seem to have.
"I think zoning rules and regulations are enough to allow a business like this to operate in the community, to fit in, and to be a benefit," Alterman said.
Read more: Louisville, Lafayette push for extensions of pot-dispensary moratoriums - Boulder Daily Camera http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-business/ci_15304869#ixzz0r38LxRAX