Committee says regulation for businesses may not be possible by July deadline

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AURORA | Aurora City Council members may temporarily restrict marijuana sales until they can draft comprehensive licensing regulations, a city committee said Feb. 19.

Members of the Aurora City Council’s Amendment 64 Policy Committee recommended that the issue go before the entire council for discussion. That item will be discussed March 4.

The committee, chaired by Councilman Bob Roth, suggested the city could restrict sale of marijuana for about a year until licensing regulations are drafted and more information is gathered about the potential sales tax revenues of marijuana
businesses.

“My personal preference is to opt out for a year or so because I want to make sure we know exactly what we’re getting into, and hopefully get some more definitive (estimates),” said Councilwoman Barb Cleland, who sits on the committee.

Aurora City Manager Skip Noe said it’s not easy to provide potential financial figures for marijuana businesses.

“We’re trying to make projections on an industry that’s basically been illegal for a long period of time,” he said.

Under Amendment 64, passed last November, local municipalities can draft licensing regulations for four types of medical marijuana businesses: marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana product manufacturing facilities, marijuana testing facilities and retail marijuana stores.

The state Legislature is currently in the process of adopting regulations for marijuana retail establishments and must do so by July 1, under the amendment. By that date, Aurora also has to decide whether to allow marijuana sales within its city limits.

Some cities have already banned marijuana in some manner despite the statewide amendment, including Greenwood Village, Monument, Golden, Parker and Westminster.

Other cities such as Boulder are temporarily opting out because they fear they won’t have enough time to draft licensing regulations before July, Noe said.

“Most cities are seeing that to prepare a comprehensive regulatory scheme is probably not doable in the few months that are available,” he said.

Noe said it could take up to a year to draft licensing
regulations.

Amendment 64 legalizes up to 1 oz. of marijuana for recreational use for people over the age of 21, and also allows anyone over that age to grow up to six plants in their home. Voters in Arapahoe County approved Amendment 64 in November 2012 by a margin of about 17,000 votes. The amendment passed by about 22,000 votes in Adams County with about 95,000 people voting for it. The city of Aurora has already updated its marijuana ordinances to reflect the legalization of recreational marijuana for people over the age of 21.

 

Reach reporter Sara Castellanos at 720-449-9036 or [email protected]