By Susan de Castro McCann
Redstone Review Editor
COLORADO – After much debate Colorado House Bill 1284, regulating medical marijuana dispensaries, went to Governor Bill Ritter and is awaiting his signature.
The House agreed to the changes made in the Senate on May 11 and readopted the bill by a 46-to-19 vote. It is expected that Governor Ritter will sign the bill (but not clear when) since it includes provisions that he requested.
Victoria Simonsen, Lyons town administrator, told the town board on May 17 that Tim Cox, Lyons town attorney, is preparing a summary of the marijuana bill that will cover all the highlights of the bill to present to the town board at its next meeting on June 7. The public is invited to attend. “The bill is 78 pages and attorney Cox will discuss the house bill and summarize the points for the board and the community,” said Simonsen.
The new law will require dispensaries to be licensed and monitored throughout the state, but also gives local communities the ability to ban them. Individual caregivers would be able to provide marijuana to up to five people wherever there is a ban. Dispensaries would also have to grow 70 percent of their marijuana, a provision aimed at controlling where the drug is sold.
The bill is expected to be challenged in court in part because it gives local communities the ability to ban dispensaries. Challengers also object to excluding non-Colorado residents from opening dispensaries, and to dispensary fees which some say are excessive.
Dan Ballard, who owns a medical marijuana dispensary near the U Pump It gas station in Lyons, spoke to the town board saying he objected to the town using the term marijuana, which he said was disrespectful and incorrect. He said the term cannabis should be used adding that marijuana was a term invented by the press and by William Randolph Hurst in particular. (William Randolph Hurst owned the San Francisco Examiner and the New York World newspapers. He was considered the founder of yellow journalism.)
Currently Lyons has a moratorium on licensing new marijuana dispensaries. On April 5 the town board voted to extend the old moratorium on issuing licenses for new medical marijuana dispensaries. The old moratorium expired on April 8 and the new moratorium started on May 7 and runs until Sept. 10. The town staff hopes to have some zoning regulations in place by the time the moratorium expires in September. The town board has expressed no interest in banning marijuana dispensaries in Lyons.
Administrator Simonson also told the town board, relating to other matters, that the Futures Committee has narrowed the library sites down to four options. The committee has recommended that a public open house be held to talk about the four options before it goes back to the Department of Local Affairs, DOLA. No date for the public open house has been set yet. The most popular site location for the expanded library is the current location, where the library sits now.
Simonsen also told the board that Craig Ferguson, owner of Planet Bluegrass and Telluride Bluegrass Festival, has been working with the Colorado Department of Transportation, CDOT, and has now met all the obligations with the state for the construction an eight-foot fence to act as a sound barrier along Colorado Highway 66 at the edge of his property. The fence is actually going to be constructed by Ferguson on the CDOT right of way. Simonson said that the fence will not require a variance because it is in a public right of way.Back to Top