New pot shops on hold
At a public hearing Tuesday, no one spoke for or against a city moratorium that bans recreational marijuana dispensaries for the next 10 months.
With no objections received, the Cortez City Council voted unanimously Tuesday evening to adopt an ordinance that prohibits any new medical or recreational marijuana dispensaries. The city approved the injunction, which sunsets in June 2014, because state officials have yet to adopt all of the guidelines and regulations necessary in implementing a voter-approved mandate to reform marijuana prohibition laws.
“We’re just not comfortable with what we have so far to move forward,” said city attorney Mike Green.
Earlier this month, Green told city leaders there were “too many unknowns” regarding how state legislators would implement Amendment 64, which gives people in Colorado the right to both consume and possess marijuana. Green suggested the moratorium was needed until state officials ironed out licensing, budgeting and regulatory details during their next legislative session.
At the end of Tuesday’s city council meeting, one resident questioned whether the moratorium could be lifted sooner if state officials managed to adopt rules and regulations prior to the expiration of the moratorium.
City manager Shane Hale explained the moratorium was timed to coincide with the next legislative session, and to provide city officials with enough reaction time once state guidelines are adopted. Hale said the moratorium could potentially be extended or possibly lifted sooner, depending on how quickly the legislature acts.
Local medical marijuana business owner Paul Coffey supports the moratorium, but he’s hopeful city leaders will move quickly upon receiving directives from the state.
“As a business owner, the one thing we can guarantee is that somebody will be in the very first day we open,” said the Beacon Wellness Group owner.