New Castle to ban recreational pot shops
July 1, 2013
NEW CASTLE — The town council here decided Wednesday night that it would ban the sale of recreational marijuana within town limits, even through a majority of New Castle area voters cast ballots last November in favor of Amendment 64, which legalized pot for those over 21 years old in Colorado.
By a vote of 5-1 at a special meeting, the council directed town attorney David McConaughy to draw up an ordinance outlawing retail pot outlets in New Castle, to be presented at the council's regular meeting on July 2.
At Wednesday's meeting, Councilor Greg Russi was absent and Counselor Mary Metzger voted against the ban.
Town Administrator Tom Baker said on Thursday that the council did not include in their directions either a ban against the growing of commercial pot, or a ban against the manufacture of "infused products" such as brownies, candy or other edibles.
Instead, Baker said, the council instructed its planning and zoning commission to take up discussion of commercial growing operations and manufacturing facilities, and to hold a public hearing on the matter some time in July.
Like towns across Colorado and the state Legislature, New Castle was wrestling with the local impacts of last year's voter approval of Amendment 64. New laws to regulate the so-called "recreational marijuana" industry are supposed to be enacted and in place by October of this year.
In the New Castle area — voting precincts 13, 14 and 15 — the amendment won approval by a vote of 1,575-1,181, or a margin of approximately 14 percent, according to county records.
Garfield County Clerk and Recorder Jean Alberico told the Post Independent that precinct 13 is split between New Castle itself and the Apple Tree mobile home park, but that precincts 14 and 15 contain most of the actual town voters.
If calculated by results from just those two precincts, Amendment 64 was approved by New Castle voters by a vote of 1,255-975, or a margin of approximately 12 percent.
Because the measure is an amendment to the state's constitution, the town cannot outlaw the growing of up to six plants and the possession and use of up to an ounce of pot in private circumstances, Baker said.
The consideration of the proposed ordinance will be done in open session next week, and the council will take comments from citizens, according to Town Clerk Melody Harrison.