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Medical marijuana dispensaries in the city of Castle Pines North?

by Elizabeth Wood West

There will be no medical marijuana dispensaries within the city limits of Castle Pines North (CPN) at least until August 30, 2010. At the January 14 city council meeting, council unanimously passed emergency Ordinance 09-25 which immediately suspended the acceptance or review of any applications pertaining to medical marijuana dispensaries.

The city and many other Colorado municipalities have been scrambling to set moratoriums in place in order to buy time to carefully analyze what impacts the dispensaries will bring to their communities and how best to regulate these controversial businesses. Douglas County, Castle Rock, Parker, and Lone Tree all have similar moratoriums in effect.

According to City Attorney Linda Michow’s accompanying analysis of Ordinance 09-25, “The city has determined that its existing land use, development, and business regulations do not adequately address and regulate the potential impacts created by medical marijuana dispensaries. Further, the approval of such uses under the city’s existing regulations will result in undesired and unintended impacts which may degrade the health, safety, and welfare of the public.”

In November 2000, Colorado voters adopted Amendment 20 to the Colorado Constitution, which authorizes and limits the sale of medical marijuana for use in the treatment of debilitating medical conditions for those who have state-issued registry cards. However, the dispensaries did not become common throughout the state until this year, when the federal government ended its enforcement of dispensaries in states where medical marijuana is allowed.

In early January, the Castle Pines community was quick to weigh in on the city’s proposed moratorium in an unofficial poll posted through The Castle Pines Connection. The results were compiled and it was determined that ninety-five percent (a ratio of twenty-to-one) of the readers who responded were opposed to allowing medical marijuana dispensaries in the Castle Pines community.

The Castle Pines Conenction shared the comments with city council members in advance of their vote. Mayor Jeff Huff said, “While the results of the survey were not surprising to me, I was very interested in the passion and firm stance of opposition exhibited by the respondents.”

With the moratorium now in place, city council will be working with the city attorney to draft regulations and policies to adequately address the potential impacts that this type of business may bring to the CPN community.

“Many local governments are waiting for the state legislature to define the ability of local officials to regulate dispensaries and growing facilities in a manner consistent with local values,” stated Mayor Huff. “I will work directly with our representatives at the statehouse to ensure that whatever regulations the state legislature adopts will give our city council the latitude to consider the opinions of our local residents,” he stated.

Click here to read the responses from the medical marijuana moratorium survey taken the second week in January by the Castle Pines Connection.



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