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Council To Vote On Marijuana Timeout

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Nug of the Month: Aug 2008
With the number of marijuana dispensaries in town on track to double, the Durango City Council will vote on another emergency medical marijuana ordinance today, this one to freeze business license applications so the city can make rules for grow operations.

City Manager Ron LeBlanc said he's worried about grow lights starting fires, an issue that didn't come up last year when the city drafted an ordinance regulating dispensaries.

"We're trying to do the right thing," LeBlanc said.

He asked the city attorney to draft the ordinance after an applicant sought to operate a grow operation in a mixed-use business park off Florida Road and East Animas Road. The applicant since has withdrawn.

"I do think that this is an issue that we need to look at," said Councilor Paul Broderick, who has raised concerns about grow lights in past meetings.

The proposed emergency ordinance would set a 60-day moratorium on the issuance of business licenses for both dispensaries and grow operations.

There are seven licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Durango, with about that number of pending applications. Only one of the dispensaries is a grow operation, Medical Horticultural Services, located outside of town.

After three dispensaries popped up in Durango in summer 2009, LeBlanc had the council consider a similar emergency ordinance.

A fire in an apartment complex that killed James "Dan" Middleton last November started in a bedroom that contained grow lights and chemicals used for growing marijuana. Middleton was a licensed medical marijuana patient.

One of the witnesses said that during the fire, Middleton and his roommate yelled that they could put out the fire themselves, and no one should call 911.

The emergency ordinance is the only item on the agenda of today's special council meeting. LeBlanc alerted councilors to the matter Friday, and the ordinance was put online Monday afternoon.

"I just think that it's unfortunate that this leaves us so little time to make a decision," said Councilor Leigh Meigs, who opposed the last moratorium because she didn't feel the matter was an "emergency." "I don't feel prepared. I'd appreciate knowing about these things in advance, so I have an opportunity to try to understand how the community feels."

NewsHawk: Ganjarden: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: The Durango Herald
Author: Garrett Andrews
Contact: The Durango Herald
Copyright: 2010 The Durango Herald
Website: Council to vote on marijuana timeout