The city of Boulder Colorado had a city council meeting on Tuesday night, and in an unexpected move, approved a temporary ban on new dispensaries and growing operations…at 11pm. The move came after a request by City Attorney Tom Carr. The ban is immediate, and will be in effect until at least February 8th.
The city council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on February 7th and may decide to impose an even longer moratorium. Medical marijuana businesses in Colorado have had the blessing of the state in the form of a medical marijuana selling permit state licenses since last summer. But in Colorado, townships and municipalities also have the right to outright ban such businesses.
The city of Boulder has embraced the medical marijuana industry. But, according to City Attorney Carr, the 37 different cultivation facilities and the 32 dispensaries in town, along with the six marijuana-infused product manufacturing sites in town, he wants the city to assess when the community needs are being met. As the city Attorney looking out for the benefit of the City of Boulder, he also would like to address the concern that growing operations and product manufacturing businesses are just shipping their products to neighboring towns for them to collect the tax dollars.
The move comes at a time when neighboring Fort Collins is closing all of their existing businesses and growers and manufacturers are eyeing places to relocate. Fort Collins, along with some smaller communities have passed a state approved ban on marijuana businesses. The medical marijuana businesses in Fort Collins have until February 14th to shut their doors.
Carr admitted it was important not to give notice about calling for the moratorium so that would-be medical marijuana business owners didn’t have time to apply for last minute applications. There was a recent burst of 12 applications turned in, and all of those will be allowed to continue through the process of licensing. Business owners that missed the opportunity to consider Boulder will have a much tougher time looking to expand or relocate, but the current dispensaries in town may be giving a sigh of relief, considering the bloom of new competition that was about to descend on their doorsteps.
The move also allows a court case involving a Boulder dispensary owner to play out. In that case, the city is trying to close a dispensary and related growing facility down over compliance issues and denying city inspectors inside this businesses. The owner is suing saying he was treated unfairly. That owner, Jack Pease thinks the moratorium is the city overreacting to his case. Of course, the rules could all change again, the State will have at least one, and most likely two legalization ballot measures to vote on later this year.
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