Broomfield City Council postponed medical marijuana business for six months

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Posted Tue, Mar 23, 2010

BROOMFIELD, COLO.- City Council held a public hearing passing a moratorium for medical marijuana dispensaries is scheduled on Tuesday, Feb. 9. Setting a time frame for action with Ordinance No. 1922 passing 9-to-1 to institute a 180-day moratorium on the approval of any permits or licenses medical marijuana dispensaries would need to legally operate in the city.

The measure will let the state Legislature sort out new laws or regulations governing medical marijuana distribution before Broomfield attempts to act, City and County Attorney Bill Tuthill said. “As anyone can tell from reading the paper or watching the evening news, this is a rapidly evolving area of the law,” Tuthill said. Zoning codes do not permit any legal dispensaries in Broomfield. “It’s telling the staff we expect some answers back in six months,” Spader said. Restrictive guidelines should be modeled and issues will be clarified with the state and federal compliance. More research, time for legislature at state level. Coordinate with the states decisions of legislature.

Sam Taylor was the only council member against the moratorium “six months is excessive” saying that they should model the legislature on what other cities in Colorado have done. Taylor quoted state senate bill 109 “Marijuana distribution in the U.S. is the single largest source of revenue for the Mexican cartel” displaying that economic growth will be hindered by the delay. Spader went on to say “This isn’t an attempt to drag this out.”

Broomfield resident Jeremy De Pinto was the only speaker in opposition to the moratorium. De Pinto said a ban would force medical marijuana users to obtain marijuana illegally from drug dealers. “What you guys are going to put a ban on is safe places for us patients to get our medicines,” De Pinto said.

In November 2000, Colorado voters approved Amendment 20 to the Colorado Constitution, authorizing the medical use of marijuana in certain circumstances. Amendment 20 did not address the manner in which patients seeking to use medical marijuana would obtain their supply of marijuana. The Amendment contemplates that users or their “caregivers” could grow and possess limited quantities of marijuana, but does not deal with the prospect of commercial or retail operations to satisfy the demand for medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana users must register with the state department of health and are eligible to receive a registration card if their application is approved. The application requires a certification from a physician that the applicant suffers from a serious medical condition that may benefit from the use of marijuana.

Prior to 2009, the number of medical marijuana registrants was approximately 2000 people. However, as a result of recent policy changes at the state and federal level, the number of registrants has burgeoned. The number of people registered as medical marijuana users is now in excess of 25,000.

As of September 30, 2009, there were 176 medical marijuana registrants living in Broomfield. Broomfield’s land use laws require that all land uses be in compliance with all laws. The Federal Controlled Substances Act prohibits the use and possession of marijuana.

In recent months, hundreds of medical marijuana “dispensaries” have opened for business throughout Colorado. There are no lawful dispensaries currently operating in Broomfield.

Adoption of a moratorium on processing or approving any city permits, licenses, or applications relating to the commercial or retail growth or sale of medical marijuana will preserve the status quo while staff has an opportunity to evaluate the methods by which Broomfield might choose to regulate medical marijuana businesses.

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