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Littleton council debates whether to allow retail marijuana shops

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By Ramsey Scott

The Littleton City Council has begun a discussion on whether to allow retail marijuana stores within city limits, and the prospects for pot shops are looking up. 

During a July 9 study session, five council members expressed a desire to at least move forward with potentially allowing retail marijuana establishments in the city. Only Mayor Debbie Brinkman and Councilman Bruce Beckman voted against further consideration of retail marijuana shops. 

“Since the very beginning, I’ve expressed great concerns about this,” Beckman said during the meeting. “If you’re asking me if I feel retail (marijuana) should be in Littleton, my reason would be no, not until the federal laws have been revised so that it’s not a federal violation.”

The city’s staff has recommended that Littleton allow retail marijuana shops. Their report to council said that, given the city’s experiences with medical marijuana dispensaries, retail marijuana shouldn’t pose any additional burden if regulated in a similar way to medical marijuana. 

The City Council placed a moratorium on Littleton accepting applications for retail marijuana shops, grow operations and marijuana clubs that is set to end Oct. 1. That’s the date when cities that will allow shops may start accepting applications for retail licenses. 

The state is allowing only licensed medical marijuana store owners to apply for retail licenses for the first nine months, starting in October. 

Colorado’s new emergency regulations issued by the Department of Revenue allow for retail sales and medical marijuana dispensing at the same site. 

But any of the four medical dispensaries in Littleton that add a retail store would have to turn away younger patrons. The City Council voted 6-1 to restrict access to dual dispensary/shops to patrons 21 and older. Currently, dispensaries can serve patients under 21. 

Only Councilman Jim Taylor was opposed to the idea, saying it could keep under-age patients from filling their prescriptions. 

The council is planning three more study sessions, focusing on land use for shops, building codes for personal marijuana growing operations, and changes to the criminal code.

 

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