Carbondale seeks to define ‘community need’ for medical pot |

Carbondale seeks to define ‘community need’ for medical pot

John Colson
Post Independent
Aspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE – Two medical marijuana centers have warned the Carbondale town government they have hired attorneys and may file suit over recent rejections of their applications to do business here.

Town officials have expressed concerns about allowing so many medical marijuana centers in Carbondale that the town will become a regional distribution center.

To prevent that, the trustees are seeking help in determining what the community need might be in terms of medical marijuana patients and their caregivers.

At the trustees meeting on Oct. 23, town attorney Mark Hamilton reported that the two medical marijuana centers in question had asked for more time to prepare for their next meeting with the town.

An operating permit for Green Miracle Medicinals, 985 Highway 133, was approved by the Board of Trustees on Aug. 28. That approval was vacated two weeks later, on Sept. 11, on a motion by Trustee John Foulkrod.

CMED, a medical marijuana center at 615 Buggy Circle, was denied a permit to operate in town at a meeting on Oct. 9.

Both centers were ruled to be closer than the 1,000-foot limit from a school, as decreed in the municipal code.

But both also were decreed by staff to be grandfathered in, meaning they were in business before the town code on medical marijuana businesses was enacted, and so were to be permitted to do business.

A majority of the trustees – Mayor Stacey Bernot and Trustees Elizabeth Murphy, Pam Zentmyer and Foulkrod – ruled that the permits should not be granted.

At the Oct. 23 meeting, Bernot called for an assessment of “the needs of the community” regarding medical marijuana.

As with liquor licenses, the town’s medical marijuana ordinance contains a provision allowing for denial of an application if the needs of the community have already been met by existing centers.

Town Manager Jay Harrington said Friday that he has talked with a consultant about how to determine the community’s need, but the matter remains in the talking stage.

“The goal here is to say how many centers we think are necessary to meet the community need,” Harrington said. “We expect to figure that out in the next few weeks.”

He said an additional complication may be the outcome of a statewide vote on Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution, which would make marijuana possession legal for all those over 21 years of age in the state.

The effect of passage of Amendment 64 on the medical marijuana industry remains an unknown, he said.

The trustees’ next discussion of the issue is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 8, 2013, Harrington said.

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