Oak Creek passes moratorium, medical marijuana ordinance

Town Board will hold off for 180 days on land-use changes for growers

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— The town of Oak Creek approved final regulations governing how medical marijuana dispensaries can be established in the town at a meeting Thursday night, but also doubled the moratorium time on approving land-use changes to allow growing operations.

The split came because there is no regulation of growing operations in the dispensary ordinance, and Town Board members wanted time to establish guidelines before giving the go-ahead to land-use changes for cultivation.

Among the requirements approved in the dispensary ordinance, any applicant is required to undergo a police background check, and all managers, employees and owners of the business must submit fingerprints.

Applicants also must pay a $750 nonrefundable application fee, in addition to an annual renewal fee of $75, along with other inspection fees. The Steamboat Springs City Council approved a similar measure, but with a $400 application fee and $100 renewal.

Board member Wendy Gustafson said that after her discussions with town attorney Bob Weiss, she thinks the board could use future ordinances, including a cultivation ordinance, to tighten up the regulations as issues arise.

The ordinance regarding cultivation does not ban the cultivation of medical marijuana but says the town will enact a 180-day moratorium on considering any land-use change that would be used for a cultivation business.

Because cultivation is not regulated by any other town laws, growers are not prohibited from creating cultivation businesses as long as they comply with state laws and do not require land-use changes.

The moratorium initially was scheduled to last 90 days, but Town Board member Josh Voorhis suggested the board expand it to 180 days to give time for new board members to be seated after the April 6 election.

Town Board members voted unanimously to pass both ordinances, with minor changes to each.

Forum

The town is hosting a forum for candidates at 7 p.m. Thurs­day. Trustee Nikki Knoebel is running for mayor, and board incumbents Bernard Gagne and Dawn Smith, along with newcomers Lawrence Jaconetta, Linda Price and Johrene Mey­ers-Story, are running for four open seats on the board.

Voorhis and Mayor J Elliott will not run for re-election.

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