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Proposal Would Ban Medical Marijuana Businesses in Fort Collins

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Medical marijuana dispensaries and grow operations would be banned from Fort Collins under an ordinance proposed by a group of city residents that includes Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith.

Supporters of the ban are expected to start collecting signatures on petitions backing the proposal on Friday, city officials say.

Proponents would have until July 19 to gather the signatures of 4,214 registered Fort Collins voters to get the proposed ordinance before the City Council.

The council could then adopt the ordinance or refer it to voters. Supporters on the ban are requesting a special election in November.

While the Colorado Constitution allows using marijuana for medicinal purposes, state law allows municipalities to ban medical marijuana businesses. Loveland, Windsor and Greeley have banned medical marijuana shops.

Fort Collins should do the same, said Ray Martinez, a former mayor and retired police officer. Martinez is listed as a representative of the petition effort in a document filed with the city clerk's office.

Medical marijuana and the industry that has blossomed around it is a "ploy" toward legalizing the drug for recreational use, Martinez said.

"They're taking steps in that direction," he said. "What drug is next that they want legalized? Where do you draw the line in the sand?"

Fort Collins has about 20 licensed medical marijuana businesses. The City Council in March approved an ordinance that allowed existing businesses that did not meet all of the city's zoning rules about where shops may be located to continue operating.

The city has spent a lot of time crafting regulations for marijuana businesses that address concerns about the industry while meeting the needs of patients, said Steve Ackerman, president of the Northern Colorado Medical Marijuana Business Council.

Taking the issue to voters would be "a step back," he said. But if voters approve the measure, the consumption of medical marijuana in the city is not likely to go down.

Without access to legitimate marijuana shops, patients will be forced to go to the streets to get their medicine, which would be unregulated and unlicensed, Ackerman said.

"It would be just like it was before," he said. "I think it's really unfortunate it has come to this."

A notice to circulate petitions was filed last week with the city clerk's office. Petitions representatives on the notice were Martinez, Smith, Jean Troxell, wife of City Councilmember Wade Troxell, and Joshua Ritter, a deputy district attorney.

Smith did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: coloradoan.com
Author: Kevin Duggan
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: coloradoan.com
Website: Proposal would ban medical marijuana businesses in Fort Collins
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