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Boulder City Council Looks To Finalize Medical Marijuana Rules


Nug of the Month: Aug 2008
The Boulder City Council on Tuesday night is hoping to bring order to the chaos that has become the medical marijuana industry.

The council in early March gave an initial nod of approval to long-term rules for medical marijuana growers and dispensaries. A full-blown public hearing on the matter comes Tuesday, along with a final decision on permanent rules.

As proposed, the ordinance would create a licensing system for marijuana businesses. The licenses would carry an application fee of $3,000 and an additional $2,000 a year to renew it. Owners of dispensaries would be required to undergo a criminal background check, provide a business plan and set security requirements.

Other restrictions would require dispensaries to keep only enough product for the number of patients who designate them as primary caregivers. Patients under the age of 18 would have to be escorted into a dispensary with a parent or guardian, and no one would be allowed to use marijuana inside the shop or in public.

There would also be rules designed to keep medical marijuana businesses away from schools and day care centers.

But the city has so far steered clear of some of the most contentious issues, such as the relationship between a patient and a physician or the number of patients that a primary caregiver can serve.

Boulder is relying on state lawmakers to answer those questions, which has local dispensaries on edge.

The Colorado Senate last week held its first hearings on rules for medical marijuana dispensaries and growers.

Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, a co-sponsor of House Bill 1284, is proposing to ban anyone under 21 from using dispensaries. Also in the bill are state licensing fees that could top $35,000 to $50,000, depending on the size of the business.

Those numbers have many smaller dispensaries across the state claiming the bill would put them out of business.

That includes Ernie Travis, co-owner of Boulder Vital Herbs at 2527 Broadway.

"I think it's going to put 95 percent of us out of business," he said of the state proposal.

Travis said he's spoken with other dispensary owners, and the consensus seems to be that Boulder's rules are no longer the big threat to their prosperity.

"Boulder City Council doesn't seem to be so money-driven," he said. "It's almost like they're on the same page, as opposed to the guys at the Capitol."

Charles Ferro, the city planner working on the local regulations, said he's also watching what the state is doing "very closely."

"We're monitoring it," he said. "It would be nice if the timing of (the state and Boulder's changes) all linked up together."

But, he said the city could move forward without a final verdict from the state Legislature, which is set to adjourn in less than two weeks.

Boulder Mayor Susan Osborne has said the City Council could take the debate over medical marijuana rules to a rare third public reading, which would give the public one additional chance to weigh in. That decision will likely be made Tuesday night.

NewsHawk: Ganjarden: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: Boulder Daily Camera
Author: Heath Urie
Contact: Boulder Daily Camera
Copyright: 2010 Media News group
Website: Boulder City Council looks to finalize medical marijuana rules
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