February 11, 2010

Colorado City OK With Dispensaries?

February 11, 2010

Fort Collins, CO dispensaries will likely be allowed to stay open until the city figures out how to regulate them (see link). A majority of City Council members said they are open to “grandfathering in” currently licensed dispensaries until the city sees what rules are enacted by the Colorado Legislature later this year.

Fort Collins city staffers came up with proposed temporary regulations in order to find a good balance for the time being. Fort Collins placed a ban on issuing licenses for dispensaries back in December. Fort Collins currently has 97 dispensaries, including 40 in residential areas.

Council member David Roy thinks it is not a big deal to let current dispensaries stay open. He feels that eventually most of them will go out of business, and if no new licenses are issued, the problem will fix itself. Mr. Roy said, “For a great number of these businesses, their business plans may not be the best in world. I think attrition will be very fast in the industry.” Council member Ben Manvel feels that allowing current dispensaries to stay open would be a mistake. Council member Wade Troxell is in support of the city staffer’s proposal. He stated, “What you’ve basically presented is reasonable.”

New regulations proposed by the city staffers would include:

1. Requiring applicants for licenses to pay a fee and undergo background checks. I personally think that background checks are not a bad requirement, as long as marijuana convictions alone didn’t bar a person from approval. If someone has a long record of violent offenses, fraud, racketeering, etc., then I think they should be banned from owning a dispensary. The purpose of these dispensaries is TO HELP THE PATIENT, NOT MAKE THE DISPENSARY OWNER A MILLIONAIRE. A background check would weed out most of the bad apples that give responsible stoners a bad name. However, if you only have marijuana convictions, this should only ENHANCE the application. Obviously the person applying has experience.

2. A storefront dispensary would have to meet all building and fire codes and could not be located within 1,000 feet of another dispensary or a school, park, recreation facility or place of worship. Zoning ordinances are nothing new; they have been applied to strip clubs, liquor stores, bars, industrial businesses, etc., for years and years. Like I stated in previous articles, this is the new weapon for cities that don’t like dispensaries.

3. Caregivers with home occupancy licenses would be able to have offices in their residences, under the proposal, but could not grow marijuana or keep inventory in their homes. It is very interesting that this is included by the city council, considering residential area dispensaries were what started this whole uproar. It’s going to be like staking a claim at a gold mine, IF YOU WERE THE FIRST IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD TO CONVERT YOUR GARAGE INTO A DISPENSARY, CONGRATULATIONS, YOU NOW HAVE THE MONOPOLY IN YOUR AREA!!!!



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