Pot election could be held in Basalt | AspenTimes.com

Pot election could be held in Basalt

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times

The picture should become clearer today on whether Basalt will ask voters next year to decide if marijuana should be sold in the town.

The Basalt Town Council will consider an ordinance extending separate bans on recreational and medical marijuana operations until after a November 2014 election. In an Oct. 1 work session, the council expressed interest in putting the issue to voters.

Basalt passed a two-year moratorium in October 2012 on accepting, processing and reviewing applications for medical marijuana operations. In December, it passed a moratorium on recreational marijuana businesses.

The proposed ordinance under consideration today will extend both moratoriums to Jan. 1, 2015, and direct the town staff to prepare a question for the November 2014 ballot.

“The town attorney shall prepare appropriate ballot language for consideration by the Town Council and at the council’s direction, prepare regulations for the town to consider that could allow for the operation of marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana product manufacturing facilities, marijuana testing facilities, retail marijuana stores, or retail marijuana depending on the outcome of the election,” the draft ordinance says.

If voters approve marijuana facilities, the town won’t accept applications until Jan. 1, 2015, to give it time to develop regulations, according to the ordinance.

Voters in the precincts that include the town of Basalt voted overwhelmingly in support of Amendment 64 last year. That amendment to the state constitution allows the recreational use of marijuana. However, Basalt officials said the statewide question didn’t determine if Basalt’s voters wanted dispensaries in the town.

Basalt is the only town in the Roaring Fork Valley seeking voters’ guidance on pot shops. State law will allow medical marijuana business owners to open recreational marijuana businesses after Jan. 1, once licenses have been approved by state and local jurisdictions.

Aspen, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs are working on rules to allow recreational marijuana operations after Jan. 1. Snowmass Village has banned any new pot dispensaries through July to give it time to consider regulations.