Silt to finalize medical marijuana prohibition in town |

Silt to finalize medical marijuana prohibition in town

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

SILT, Colorado – The town’s trustees on Sept. 10 plan to prohibit, once and for all, medical marijuana dispensaries within the town limits.

But the proposed ordinance does not completely answer the question of whether town residents have the right to grow, possess and use medical marijuana themselves, as permitted in the state constitution.

Colorado voters in 2000 approved a constitutional amendment permitting the cultivation, sale and use of medical marijuana, for those holding a valid medical marijuana license.

Little happened around the state concerning medical marijuana until 2009, when the Obama administration announced it would not pursue or prosecute certified users or producers of medical marijuana in states where such laws were on the books.

The result of that announcement was a boom in new medical marijuana businesses around Colorado, and the matter has been mired in controversy ever since as some parts of the state accepted the idea and others did not.

The new ordinance in Silt, initially passed on Aug. 27, and set for final consideration at Monday’s meeting, will be the fifth time the council has dealt with the issue since Nov. 23, 2009.

That was when the trustees imposed a temporary moratorium on accepting or processing applications for dispensaries in town.

Since then, the trustees have extended the temporary moratorium once, in May 2010, and enacted a one-year moratorium from July 11, 2011, until June 30, 2012.

On May 14, the board created a permanent moratorium against medical marijuana businesses, and the ordinance passed on Aug. 27 inserts that moratorium into the town code.

Left undecided was the question of whether Silt residents with medical marijuana licenses are entitled to cultivate and possess up to six plants, as permitted by the state constitution.

In a memo to the Board of Trustees, Town Administrator Pamela Woods stated, “The town attorney believes the question raised about the ability of a medical marijuana card holder to possess up to six plants is a matter for the police department, and should not be detailed in this zoning ordinance.”

Town attorney Lee Leavenworth, in a memo to town staff and to Police Chief Levy Burris, wrote, “The town’s police cannot charge a criminal offense under state law against anyone holding a valid medical marijuana and who is using medical marijuana or cultivating up to six plants.”

The zoning ordinance, Leavenworth stressed, applies strictly to operation of a business to sell, cultivate or distribute medical marijuana.

Also on the agenda for the Monday meeting are an extension for completing the application to build a new church in town, and revisions to the town’s noise ordinance, among other matters.

The town meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.

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