Edgewater may be small in area, but it's leading the way in Jefferson County on recreational marijuana regulations.
The Edgewater City Council on Sept. 19 voted unanimously to allow retail pot shops, grow operations, testing and product manufacturing facilities within city limits.
That makes Edgewater the first city in Jefferson County to permit the Amendment 64-related businesses, which can start opening statewide Jan. 1 in amenable communities. The state Department of Revenue was to begin accepting license applications Oct. 1.
City Clerk Beth Hedberg said she has already received an inquiry from a medical marijuana dispensary about adding a retail component, and the new rules didn't even go into effect until Sept. 25.
Edgewater is home to four dispensaries, with a fifth — proposed for 6020 W. 20th Ave. — approved Sept. 19, she said.
"In the three years we've had medical marijuana, we haven't had any public safety concerns or issues," Hedberg said. "It's great tax revenue — that's the way we looked at it. It hasn't hurt us. It's helped us."
Under Edgewater's regulations, recreational pot businesses will have to abide by the same spacing rules as dispensaries. That means they must be at least 500 feet from schools, licensed child-care facilities and halfway houses, as well as other marijuana businesses.
Co-location of medical and retail marijuana businesses will be allowed. Cultivation and product manufacturing facilities, however, can locate in Edgewater only if under common ownership with a marijuana store in Edgewater.
Elsewhere in Jefferson County, few communities have taken definitive action on the new businesses.
Westminster has already banned retail pot businesses outright, something the city council did in January.
Wheat Ridge could approve regulations Oct. 14, which would make it the largest city in Jefferson County to allow retail pot shops.
Arvada, Golden and unincorporated Jefferson County are all under moratoriums, through March 2014, July 2014 and February 2015, respectively.
Lakewood also has a moratorium in place through Jan. 1, although city officials are considering adding another year to the temporary ban. If approved, the county's biggest city would not accept any applications for recreational marijuana businesses through Jan. 1, 2015.
First reading of the expanded moratorium is scheduled for Oct. 14, said Stacie Oulton, a city spokeswoman. The final vote would be Oct. 28.
Officials in Lakewood have said they want to wait and see how the new state regulations play out, particularly in Denver, before making a decision either way.
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Author: Emilie Rusch
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Website: Edgewater joins short list of Colorado communities allowing marijuana shops - The Denver Post