Durango considers moratorium on pot dispensaries
August 30, 2009
DURANGO, Colo. – The City Council is scheduled to consider an emergency ordinance Tuesday that would freeze permit applications for medical marijuana dispensaries until Oct. 31.
The ordinance would give the city time to plan for more licensed dispensaries in city limits.
An amendment approved by Colorado voters in 2000 allows marijuana use to treat certain illnesses, but the state doesn’t license or regulate dispensaries. Police Chief David Felice has said that has him concerned.
The state health board last month declined to limit medical marijuana suppliers to helping only five patients at a time, allowing dispensaries to continue.
The owners of one Durango dispensary, Natures Medicine, say they welcome regulatory guidelines because of operations that they say claim to offer healing services but don’t.
“We’re firm believers that medicinal marijuana is an alternative way of healing,” co-owner Richard Present said. “We think that other things should be involved, like what we offer at our wellness centers. It shouldn’t be a place where you just get medicine and leave.”
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Other towns including Silverthorne and Breckenridge in Summit County and the Denver suburbs of Englewood and Northglenn also have frozen the application process for medical marijuana dispensaries as town officials consider drafting regulations for them.
Meanwhile Greenwood Village and Aurora are considering their cities off-limits to dispensaries, because the sale of marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
There are about 60 medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado.