GLENWOOD SPRINGS — In the wake of passage of Amendment 64 by Colorado voters in 2012, state and local governments scrambled to determine how best to deal with the looming legalization of pot as a recreational drug starting on Jan. 1, 2014.
Voters in the state, and in Garfield County and nearly every town in the county, had approved the legalization of marijuana as a recreational drug for anyone over the age of 21. Legalization covered not only the cultivation and use of pot by individuals, but also the cultivation, cooking with and sale of the herb by businesses, under ordinances and statutes written to accommodate the activity.
In Garfield County, several governments reacted negatively to legalization. The county commissioners prohibited all recreational marijuana-related businesses from operating within the unincorporated county, with the exception of cultivation facilities for medical marijuana, which were approved by county voters in 2010.
Both Silt and New Castle, from the beginning of 2013, seemed determined not to permit any type of pot-related businesses within their boundaries, though both communities are now taking another look at the issue.
In Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, where voters gave approval to Amendment 64 by strong margins, the governments have moved to regulate, tax and accommodate the new industry.
Even in those towns, however, there will be no recreational pot shops opening on Jan. 1, 2014, as allowed by law, because of permitting and other delays.
Officials in Carbondale expect the first recreational pot shop to open there in mid-January or soon thereafter.
In Glenwood Springs, the town government also does not expect any recreational marijuana shops to open in town before the end of January at the earliest.