City of Steamboat Springs plans ahead for potential Amendment 64 passage

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Election 2012

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— If Amendment 64 passes Tuesday, Steamboat Springs officials want to make sure they have local rules in place to regulate the businesses that could sell marijuana for recreational use.

An emergency ordinance is on the Steamboat Springs City Council’s Nov. 13 agenda that would enact a moratorium on facilities that could sell marijuana to any adult 21 and older.

“It’s no more than a belt and suspenders,” Steamboat Police Chief Joel Rae said.

He said the moratorium would allow the council and Steamboat residents to take time to consider what they want for their community should the amendment to the Colorado constitution pass.

“This is all a big if — if Amendment 64 passes,” Rae said.

If approved, Amendment 64 would legalize the recreational use of marijuana and allow those 21 and older to possess as much as 1 ounce.

According to a recent Denver Post poll, 50 percent of likely voters support Amendment 64, while 44 percent oppose it. The poll has a margin of error of 3.8 percent and surveyed 695 likely voters from Oct. 28 to Wednesday on land lines and cellphones.

SurveyUSA conducted the poll and told the Post that Amendment 64's “passage would be driven largely by the support of younger voters, who sometimes are less reliable, turnout-wise, than are older voters."

Colorado’s last statewide measure to legalize marijuana failed in 2006, with 59 percent of voters rejecting it.

If the amendment passes, recreational users would have to grow the marijuana themselves or buy it from a retail shop, which likely would not exist for at least a year. The state would have until Jan. 1, 2014, to start issuing licenses to businesses that want to sell marijuana for recreational use.

Even though it is not anticipated that retail shops would open for at least a year, Steamboat officials want to make sure none open up before then. Rae said the city learned its lesson with medicinal marijuana dispensaries that opened in Steamboat after applying only for a license from the state. They do not want to be surprised again, Rae said, and the moratorium would ensure retail shops do not open until the city has a chance to put a plan in place.

“It’s not up for interpretation,” said Rae, who along with other local law enforcement officials have come out against Amendment 64.

Rocky Mountain Remedies co-owner Kevin Fisher has said he is supportive of a moratorium on retail pot shops. He and other medicinal marijuana business owners are concerned that the opening of retail stores could invite a visit from federal authorities who might decide to shut down the medicinal dispensaries as well.

At the state level, if Amendment 64 passes, the state would regulate it similar to how alcohol is regulated. Marijuana sales could also be taxed by as much as 15 percent by the state. The first $40 million raised annually would go toward building schools, according to the language of Amendment 64.

Locally, Rae said the city would need to consider its own regulations on recreational pot shops, such as whether they can be located near preschools, daycare centers and parks.

“Do we want marijuana brownies being sold next to Fuzziwig’s?” Rae asked. “We need to get all that stuff in place."

Rae said the passage of Amendment 64 would present an “opportunity for a lot of young entrepreneurs who have dollar signs in their eyes.” He said the city might need to address issues such as what kind of advertising the pot shops could do and what kind of signage the businesses could have.

“That’s a big thing to me,” Rae said. “Do we want restrictions, and can we do restrictions?”

The amendment stipulates that marijuana could not be consumed in public, but that still presents some unanswered questions that the city might need to answer.

“Is it public consumption if you have a private room in the back of your bar?” Rae asked.

Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger questioned whether the county would need to pass an ordinance because he thinks existing county ordinances would prevent a recreational pot shop from opening.

Routt County Sheriff Garrett Wiggins said he wants to make sure measures are in place that would prevent recreational pot shops from opening in the county.

Key points from Amendment 64:

• Driving under the influence of marijuana would remain illegal.

• People would need to be at least 21 years old to purchase or possess marijuana.

• People would be allowed to possess as much as 1 ounce of marijuana.

• Marijuana would be labeled and subject to additional regulations from the state to ensure that consumers are “informed and protected.”

• Consumption of marijuana in public would not be allowed.

• People would be allowed to grow as many as six plants, three of which could be mature plants. but would not be allowed to sell marijuana without a license.

• People 21 or older would not be allowed help people younger than 21 get marijuana.

• The state would regulate, among other things, security at shops and labeling and could impose restrictions on advertising.

• Marijuana sales could be taxed by as much as 15 percent by the state. The first $40 million raised annually would go toward building schools.

• Local governments would be able to ban retail stores and limit the number of retail stores.

• Employers still would be able to enforce policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

Election Guide 2012

Comments

JJ Southard 2 years, 1 month ago

It clearly states that no marijuana businesses would be allowed to sell marijuana to people 21 and up until 2014. This moratorium is unnessesary. What DOES happen as soon as Govenor LoopyLooper signs it in law, is everyone 21 and up can immediately start growing their own. So let's overgrow Colorado!!

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rhys jones 2 years, 1 month ago

Leave it to our trusty "government" to defeat the intent of the measure.

SQUAWK!! SQUAWK!! THE SKY IS FALLING!!

Gimme a beak; we should fire the whole lot.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 1 month ago

Think of the horrors if another liquor store, oops I mean real estate office, oops I mean mj retail store open on Lincoln.

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John St Pierre 2 years, 1 month ago

curious how the banks in town will handle this.. since as far as the Federal Reserve & FDIC are concerned.. this is drug money & :money Laundrying" and subject to seizure not to mention losing their bank charters and even incarceration if in fact they know it to be drug money..... at present none of the "pot shops" or "growers" can deposit any of their funds in a bank.... without severe consequences....... the State was looking into opening a "pot bank" but the Fed law says otherwise.... curious how this will work out....

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rhys jones 2 years, 1 month ago

Wow... the trusty Federal Reserve rears its ugly head again... seems they've got their bases covered. Guess the Brits own Colorado too.

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rhys jones 2 years, 1 month ago

They own the Federal Reserve. It's private, ya know.

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rhys jones 2 years, 1 month ago

The fact was that in 1910, the United States was for all practical purposes being ruled from England, and so it is today' (Mullins, p. 47-48).

quoted from

http://www.usagold.com/federalreserve.html

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rhys jones 2 years, 1 month ago

Before anybody calls me on it, I will admit the previously quoted link is actually refuting the influence of foreign Fed ownership; the reader can judge for themselves.

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jerry carlton 2 years, 1 month ago

Scott Wedel Never did see your reply if you are still renting to the pot growers in Oak Creek?

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 1 month ago

Jerry, Your question was previously correctly answered by Max.

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mark hartless 2 years, 1 month ago

Max said that Scott did not rent to pot growers, film at 11...

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 1 month ago

But then that question and answer had been deleted, probably for violating terms of service. I didn't notice that when I answered.

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captnse 2 years, 1 month ago

if the banks wont handle drug money from despenseries what does our treasurer do with tax monies collected from despenseries? its still drug money. strange bedfellows? OK for county to deposit all that cash? tax monies is like drugs to politicans and I think they are getting addicted.

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Matthew Stoddard 2 years, 1 month ago

How does the Fed and FDIC banks handle money from current dispensaries? Are they treated differently since it's for medical purposes? If not, I don't see a problem that should arise differently.

Also, MMJ has been in going for a few years in Routt County and where are all the problems that were supposed to come to a forefront from them?

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