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Limited retail marajuana possible in Longmont

Posted on: Mar 4 17

by: admin

From Longmont Times-Call

BY JOHN FRYAR STAFF WRITER

Later this year, #Longmont’s city staff is expected to present the City Council with a report about its options if it wants to enact a partial repeal of the city’s ban on shops selling medical and recreational marijuana sales inside the city limits.

At least some council members indicated during meetings last year that they’d be willing to consider revising or ending Longmont’s prohibitions against pot shops.

The issue resurfaced on Tuesday night, when Mayor Dennis Coombs floated a motion to have the council vote to direct the city staff to draft an ordinance that would allow as many as six marijuana dispensaries to operate in Long- mont — as long as they’re located out of the core downtown area and acceptable distances from schools.

Councilwoman Polly Christensen, however, said it had been her understanding that such a proposed ordinance would cap the total number of city-permitted pot shops at four, rather than six.

Councilman Gabe Santos said he thought the council’s directive was for the city staff to delay any work on preparing for resumption of the pot-shop discussions until after the staff completed a proposal for regulating the growing of marijuana in Longmont residents’ homes.

The staff published its recommendations for that

Please see SHOPS, 6A

Todd Stevens, of Native Roots in unincorporated Boulder County, helps customers with marijuana sales in 2016.

home-grow ordinance last week. Council members voted unanimously on Tuesday night to give preliminary approval to the measure that would generally establish a six-plantper- person limit on cultivating, producing and processing marijuana inside a residential dwelling unit.

A public hearing and possible final council action on that home-grow ordinance are scheduled for March 21.

City Manager Harold Dominguez said on Tuesday night that it will probably be as much as “a month or so” before the staff can complete work on its report about the issues and options related to allowing locally licensed marijuana dispensaries inside Longmont.

Coombs amended the proposed pot-shop total to four but ultimately withdrew his motion to direct the staff to prepare a proposed ordinance, since that work will soon be underway.

Senior Planner Erin Fosdick said on Wednesday that the staff task force that worked on the homegrow measure has not yet started discussing the issue of limited retail sales.

Fosdick said the city staff will probably resurrect and update retail marijuana research originally presented to the council last summer and will continue to look at other cities’ “best practices” in regulating such businesses.

She said the staff will probably initially make a report to the council — rather than presenting a draft ordinance — to see if the council has suggestions for what it would like the staff to study as city policies and regulations.

Longmont banned medical marijuana dispensaries in 2011 and recreational marijuana shops in 2013. While there are no legally operating retail marijuana sales businesses operating inside Longmont now, there are two such shops located on the edges of the city limits in unincorporated Boulder County — Native Roots, near the Sunset Street Bridge, and Green Tree Medicinals, which is north of Colo. 66 and east of Main Street. Both sell medical and recreational marijuana.

On Wednesday, Coombs noted that in a city-commissioned survey on a variety of issues conducted by the National Research Center Inc., when questioned about the possibility of pot shops, “more people wanted them than didn’t.”

The surveyors reported in November that when people were asked about the possibility of “limited retail sales of recreational marijuana” in Longmont, 31 percent said they “strongly” supported the idea, 25 percent said they “somewhat” supported it, 33 percent said they strongly opposed it and 11 percent said they somewhat opposed it.

Coombs said that whether or not he personally agrees with the majority in that survey, he’s likely to support a measure that would permit what he said would be a few “strategically located” businesses inside Longmont because “it’s my job as an elected official to represent the people.”

John Fryar: 303-684-5211, jfryar@times-call.com or twitter.com/jfryartc

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