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Council discussion goes to pot

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Littleton officials debating whether to allow recreational pot sales

By Ramsey Scott

Members of the Littleton City Council still have questions and reservations about allowing sales of recreational marijuana in the city. 

The council discussed the potential benefits and hazards of allowing retail sales during its meeting May 20. Currently Littleton has a moratorium on sales of recreational marijuana that expires October. Four shops currently sell medicinal pot.   

The city can choose to ban recreational sales, allow them, put the matter to voters, or simply extend the moratorium. 

One issue that doesn’t seem to be a concern is a possible rise in crime due to sales of recreational marijuana. 

“We’re not concerned with the retail coming into the community from a crime standpoint. Some of these have been open for several months right now; we’re not seeing any problems from them from those communities that have those,” said City Manager Michael Penny.

When the moratorium was enacted in October 2013, the city was also considering an ordinance that would have allowed the four medical marijuana dispensaries to convert to a dual license that would also let the shops sell recreational marijuana. 

Voter-approved Amendment 64 to the state constitution legalized the use and retail sale of recreational marijuana but also allows municipalities to ban retail sales and production. 

Of the four medical marijuana dispensaries in Littleton, three violate zoning rules preventing dispensaries from being within 1,000 feet of parks. But those three were grandfathered in, since they had opened before the current rules were approved. 

Councilwoman Debbie Brinkman said she didn’t like the idea of those dispensaries being grandfathered in a second time to allow retail sales. 

Councilman Bruce Beckman was concerned that allowing retail sales of recreational pot close to parks could cause the federal government to take action against the city. 

The City Council requested more information on possibly requiring the three shops, if they want to convert to a dual license, to move to areas where they would conform with existing zoning rules. 

 

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine. Check www.columbinecourier.com for updates.