With less than 45 days until four twenty — 4/20/2013 — the spineless Boulder city councilmembers are slowly slinking their way through an ugly process. With the ultimate goal of their actions being a citywide moratorium, banning any business within the recreational marijuana world from setting up shop within the city limits — at least until the end of 2014. While the 420 community plans a day of celebration on the hallowed ground of Boulder University, some fear…with good reason, the local officials bowing to federal pressure may end in the event being canceled.
Right or wrong, the decision made by the Boulder city Council will have far-reaching financial ramifications for the businesses within Boulder.
By Erica Meltzer –As Boulder heads toward a possible moratorium on recreational marijuana businesses until 2014, medical dispensaries are hoping the city won’t take too long to decide how it will regulate the retail pot industry.
A majority of City Council members late Tuesday night favored a temporary ban on recreational marijuana businesses until sometime next year to give officials time to incorporate whatever rules the state adopts and to consider what changes Boulder should make to its rules as the pot trade moves away from the medical model.
The council members, saying they don’t want to rush into new regulations, asked the city staff to return this spring with a moratorium proposal.
Boulder attorney Jeff Gard, who represents several marijuana businesses, said he appreciates the City Council wanting to take a deeper look at the rules around recreational marijuana. But business owners need to know whether they’ll be able to convert from a medical model to a recreational one.
“Businesses need to know if Boulder is in or is Boulder out,” Gard said. “That would reassure everyone that the marijuana business will continue even if the medical model becomes a lame duck.”
The draft ordinance would set the limit at 500 plants, but dispensary and grow operation managers told the City Council that many medical grows have more than 500 plants now. They said it would make more sense to limit operations by square footage.
Dispensary owners told the council they have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in their businesses, and their main concern is that they have a way to transition to a recreational model without losing that investment.