Glenwood Springs City Council considering medical pot regulations | PostIndependent.com

Glenwood Springs City Council considering medical pot regulations

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Glenwood Springs City Council is considering regulation options for the medical marijuana industry in town.

Citizens’ concerns caused Councilwoman Shelley Kaup to bring up the topic regarding the growing industry, specifically the location in which dispensaries are allowed to operate within the city limits of Glenwood Springs, at last week’s City Council meeting.

“I would like to suggest to council that it’s time that we look into having some local regulation on dispensaries,” Kaup said.

She said that she has received “a few calls,” some of which came from parents in the community who were concerned with the potential of a dispensary opening in the Van Rand Center adjacent to the Glenwood Springs High School.

Until recently, council has chosen to take a “wait and see” approach. However, Kaup says that is not good enough anymore, and it’s time for council to take action.

“We’ve been watching what the state is going to do, and I think it’s pretty clear that the state is, at this point anyway, just looking at licensing issues, physician and patient relationship, and not really the types of local limitations that we might put in on placement [of dispensaries],” she said.

Councilman Russ Arensman supported Kaup’s idea to explore regulations, saying that Carbondale recently created a task force to address the issues in that community, as well.

“I think it’s a legitimate area for us to take a look at, in terms of zoning and location,” Arensman said.

The Carbondale Board of Trustees appointed a 14-member Medical Marijuana Facilities Advisory Group in March to study issues raised by concerned citizens regarding location of dispensaries and grow operations.

Similar to Carbondale as well, Glenwood Springs currently has half-a-dozen dispensaries in town, and more could be popping up at any time. That is why Kaup wanted to get some regulations in place, before the situation gets out of control.

While all councilors supported further discussion of the subject, Councilman Leo McKinney wanted to ensure that the discussion is fair and balanced and includes some representatives of the industry as well.

“I would like to make sure that when we do have this discussion that we are not reacting out of fear from decades of propaganda,” McKinney said.

McKinney seemed to be more reluctant to set up any kind of regulation on an industry that has sprouted hundreds of new businesses across Colorado in the past year, in spite of the recession.

“What problem has come up because of it?” McKinney asked.

Mayor Bruce Christensen took issue with that, saying that the pace in which dispensaries have popped up like weeds in communities all over the state is not what voters approved when Amendment 20 passed in 2000.

“I share, to a pretty strong degree, Shelley’s concern that we, at this point, owe it to our community to at least explore what our options are,” Christensen said. “Because I don’t think that any of us who voted for that amendment expected that there was going to be a pot dispensary on every street corner, or several per block.”

Councilor Stephen Bershenyi said also that he would like to include other municipalities in the discussion, as a way to put some pressure on the state Legislature to develop a universal and enforceable set of regulations.

Council requested that City Attorney Jan Shute see what types of zoning regulations other municipalities have come up with as a model for Glenwood. Council agreed to have a discussion with the public regarding the issue at a future council meeting. The exact date for that discussion has yet to be determined.

jgardner@postindependent.com


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