Amendment 64 could cause Carbondale council to hit pause on new medical marijuana shops

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Carbondale town trustees will consider Tuesday whether to impose a moratorium on new medical marijuana dispensaries while they sort out of the implications of a provision in voter-approved Amendment 64 that would allow existing medical marijuana dispensaries to convert their business models to the sale of recreational marijuana.

The Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported Monday that a new Carbondale town ordinance creating the moratorium will be on the Carbondale Town Council's agenda Tuesday.

Earlier this month, the Steamboat Springs City Council tabled plans to enact an emergency moratorium on new marijuana retailers given the passage of Amendment 64. City officials acknowledged that such a step was premature given the timelines called for in Amendment 64.

Colorado voters on Nov. 6 approved Amendment 64, which makes it legal for residents 21 and older to grow, possess and consume marijuana. The constitutional amendment also creates a new class of pot retailers. The state is responsible for creating the regulatory framework for those businesses, and local jurisdictions have the option of banning such recreational pot shops from their cities and towns.

The passage of Amendment 64 came a dozen years after Colorado voters approved a separate constitutional amendment allowing the cultivation, sale and use of marijuana with a doctor’s prescription.

Carbondale Town Manager Jay Harrington told the Post Independent’s John Colson that some medical marijuana dispensaries in Carbondale have already shown an interest in making the conversion. Town officials are concerned about their ability to process new applications for medical marijuana dispensaries while they are preoccupied with working through the implications of Amendment 64.

Owners of medical marijuana dispensaries in Routt County have expressed concern that the renewed attention at the federal level on Colorado’s liberalized marijuana laws could jeopardize their existing operations.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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