Medical Marijuana Ordinance Approved
by Watch Staff
Jan 28, 2010 | 3838 views | 8 8 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Convicted Felon Prohibitions Loosened

TELLURIDE – In a 6-1 vote, the Telluride Town Council approved the second reading of an ordinance governing the establishment and operation of new medical marijuana dispensaries within town boundaries when it met on Tuesday.

With the vote Telluride joins a growing list of Colorado municipalities to adopt local regulations in response to a recent proliferation of dispensaries sparked by an amendment to the state constitution approved by the voters in 2000 that authorized the medical use of marijuana.

The ordinance requires new businesses seeking to dispense medical marijuana to obtain a certificate of zoning compliance from the town. To obtain the certificate applicants will have to submit a “dispensary plan” setting forth security provisions, hours of operation, the number of employees, and, if any cultivation is to occur, a plan for cultivation.

After a lengthy discussion instigated by Telluride attorney Jennifer Fox, council ultimately loosened restrictions in the original ordinance that allowed the town to withhold a certificate of zoning compliance from any applicant who had previously been convicted of a felony offense.

“I think this conflicts with the constitutional definition of a caregiver,” Fox said, suggesting, as she did when council considered the first reading of the ordinance three weeks ago, that some of its proposed restrictions could be too restrictive of a constitutional right and might subject the town to litigation.

As a result of that discussion council determined that certificates of zoning compliance could not be withheld from felons whose convictions were at least five years old.

Council also struck a provision that would have required dispensaries wishing to cultivate marijuana on-site to install approved ventilation systems and to provide their associated mechanical plans as part of a dispensary plan.

“I don’t think it would be fair to tie people’s hands behind equipment that may or may not do the job,” said Councilmember David Oyster.

“It’s hard enough to get a kitchen vent to vent properly,” he later added.

In addition to the certificate of zoning compliance applicants will also be required to maintain a current and valid business license and a sales tax license.

Other provisions of the ordinance regulate signage, prohibit the on-site consumption of marijuana and prohibit the sale or consumption alcohol on the premises (except for alcohol-based tinctures), prohibit dispensaries within 500 feet of a school or outside of the Commercial and Historic Commercial zone districts, and require security provisions.

In addition, dispensaries must post a sign warning that the diversion of marijuana for non-medical uses is a violation of state law, that it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle or operate machinery under the influence of marijuana, that possession and distribution of marijuana is a violation of federal law, that the smoking or consumption of marijuana in public is a violation of state law, and include a warning that smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and may complicate pregnancy

Councilmember Ann Brady, who inquired if there was some specific pressure to pass the ordinance on Tuesday due to time constraints, cast the sole dissenting vote.

“There were quite a few additions and corrections and I thought we should take a little more time and see the final product,” she said.

There are already three medical marijuana dispensaries in Telluride. They will not be subject to the new ordinance because they entered business prior to the imposition of a moratorium on any new dispensaries by council in October.
Comments
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FaceOnMars
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January 29, 2010
I question the need to devote town time & resources (aka taxpayer funds) to get involved in regulating something which should clearly have been left to the state level (given that it's already run amok at the "constitutional level" in term of federal enforcement).

I also question the rationale of regulation as a means of "preemptively empowering the town" in so far as adoption a more stringent custom code. I believe free market principles trump any perceived danger from what is essentially a "functional equivalence" to an existing market(s), namely the allowance of sales of traditional pharmaceuticals (i.e. Sunshine Pharmacy).

I could certainly be mistaken, but I don't recall there being a local ordinance regulating the operation of pharmacies in town? And if there is one, then why not simply clarify the existing language to me inclusive of medical marijuana dispensaries? Seems there's a very clear double standard on this count, not to mention the greater potential for an OD or DUI from what's behind a pharmacy counter.

I'm simply amazed at the near consensus vote for this measure from this town council. I expect more. I'm not looking to cast any moral judgment, but I truly think the ball was dropped on this one. I know they're gonna get hammered from all sides, and especially hard from legal & town staff perspectives about why such a thing "needs to be done"; however, I don't believe this was a product of true progressive thought nor a useful way to expend limited resources during hard economic times.
Yo Tom
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January 29, 2010
Lose the caps, we get it, you dont like the ordinance.
TOM SMITH
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January 29, 2010
THE CLAUSE PROHIBITING CONSUMING, DISPENSING OR GROWING WITHIN 500 FEET OF A SCHOOL COULD PROVE TO BE SHORT-SIGHTED JUST AS THE LAW OF NOT ALLOWING ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION OR DISPENSING WITHIN 500 FEET OF A SCHOOL HAS PROVEN TO BE BOTH SHORT-SIGHTED AND NARROW MINDED IN TELLURIDE.

WE ARE JUST GOING TO HAVE TO AMEND THIS ORDINANCE WHEN THE SCHOOL NEEDS TO SELL TICKETS TO MUSIC EVENTS AT THE PALM JUST LIKE WE DID FOR ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION.

HOW ABOUT SOME VISION?

IS THE TOWN FESTIVAL SITE IN TOWN PARK OUTSIDE OF THE COMMERCIAL CORE?

AT RED ROCKS, CARD CARRYING USERS HAVE A SPECIAL AREA IN WHICH THEY CAN GO AND SMOKE FOR MEDICINAL PURPOSES--MAINLY MEANING THEY PREFER NOT TO DRINK ALCOHOL.

MAYBE THE SCHOOL BOARD NEEDS TO SUBMIT A "DISPENSARY PLAN".

WHO ON THE SCHOOL BOARD HAS A LICENSE ALREADY?
David Scott
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January 28, 2010
Marijuana prohibition has been a total failure and is perhaps this country's greatest mistake. Not only has it created criminals out of nearly a third of the country's populace, it costs our society billions of dollars every year, creates a strain on our prison system, and has little or no effect on marijuana use in the US. In some cases, prosecuting marijuana use has turned non-violent, middle class kids into violent and unpredictable, career criminals. Once a person has a criminal conviction on their record, they are far less likely to find a good job and become a useful member of society. Other countries with more liberal drug laws have much lower rates of drug addiction among their people. I invite you to my web-page devoted to raising awareness on the assault on our civil liberties: http://freethegods.blogspot.com/
Wes Warren
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January 28, 2010
I'd like to work in a clinic if possible 208-265-4477
Wes Warren
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January 28, 2010
Yup your right. They love Telluride. All who go there should love it. Cannabis is what its called by the way.
How can Werner
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January 28, 2010
state that not requiring deviance checks decreases the incidence of deviance?

More Gobbledygoook from the left...

Inhale, Left!
Drifter33333
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January 28, 2010
makes me laugh, it's a good story and very well written but admit it you (author) have tried marijuana before and those city council guys are still using it more than likely. Everyone who reads this comment of mine are either currently using it or have used it before and inhaled. Probably?