Hayden to take up pot discussion | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden to take up pot discussion

— The town of Hayden is the latest community in Northwest Colorado to consider putting in place emergency rules related to recreational marijuana use.

"We want to put everything on hold until we see what the state and the feds are going to do," Hayden Police Chief Gordon Booco said Wednesday.

The Hayden Town Council will discuss the issue during its regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Hayden Town Hall. Staff and council members will deliver their reports starting at 7 p.m.

Council members are not being asked to consider any specific ordinances. Rather, a discussion will be held to collect feedback and decide how to proceed. The council then could consider an emergency ordinance at its March 7 meeting.

Booco said the emergency ordinance that would be considered specifically keeps people or businesses from operating a "pot club" where patrons can get together to consume marijuana. Several such clubs have opened in Colorado since the November passage of Amendment 64, which makes it legal for adults to possess and consume small amounts of marijuana, though not in public. Emergency ordinances already have passed in Craig, Palisade and Fruita, and Steamboat Springs recently put a temporary ban on pot clubs.

The discussion in Hayden on Thursday could extend beyond just the issue of pot clubs. Communities across the state eventually will have to decide how they would like to handle marijuana retail stores, as well. Starting Oct. 1, local communities are supposed to have their own rules in place, and the state of Colorado at that time will begin accepting and processing applications from people who want to open marijuana retail shops.

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Medical marijuana dispensaries, which are allowed under Amendment 20, currently are banned in unincorporated parts of Routt County and in the towns of Hayden and Yampa. Without any objections from members of the public, the Hayden Town Council voted unanimously to ban medical marijuana dispensaries during a meeting in August 2010.

During the most recent November election, however, a slim majority of the voters in and around Hayden were supportive of Amendment 64 and the legalization of marijuana. In Precinct 2, which includes the portion of Hayden north of U.S. Highway 40, 49.5 percent of voters supported Amendment 64. In Precinct 5, which includes the portion of Hayden south of U.S. 40, 51 percent of voters supported marijuana legalization. Combining the vote totals of the two precincts, 50.5 percent of the voters supported Amendment 64.

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

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