Silt, New Castle enact moratoriums on medicinal marijuana | AspenTimes.com

Silt, New Castle enact moratoriums on medicinal marijuana

Post Independent staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

The towns of Silt and New Castle both have enacted moratoriums on medical marijuana dispensaries with town limits.

The trustees of both towns have concluded that they will see what the state Legislature does in its next session, which begins in January 2010, before taking any further action on the issue, according to town officials.

“I think it’s a ‘wait-and-see,'” said New Castle planner Tim Cain, referring to the council’s attitude about the town staff working on the issue.

“There are too many unanswered questions,” declared Silt Mayor Dave Moore. “I don’t think the attorneys even know what’s going on.”

New Castle was first to take the action, approving a six-month moratorium on Nov. 17. There are no dispensaries in town, and no applications have been received to open one.

Silt followed a week later, on Nov. 23, after receiving one inquiry, reportedly from the owner of a dispensary in a nearby town.

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The Silt moratorium also is for 180 days.

Cain said the New Castle decision came after the Town Council had been considering, and passed on first reading, an ordinance that would have permitted medical marijuana dispensaries in certain areas and applied other restrictions.

But, Cain said, that ordinance was discarded after the trustees began talking about possible legislative action.

“The reality is, the state of Colorado has got to figure out what it’s going to do,” Cain said.

He was referring to a number of possible legislative actions concerning medical marijuana dispensaries in the upcoming session of the Colorado General Assembly.

Already, at least two state senators have vowed to come up with laws imposing restrictions on what has been a fairly wide-open boom. According to news reports, there are more than 100 dispensaries in the Denver metropolitan area, and approximately 20 in the area between Aspen and Rifle.

In Silt, according to town attorney Gene Duran, the board of trustees also is taking a wait-and-see attitude.

“I’m anticipating that the legislature is going to act on this in the next session,” Duran remarked, noting that “some [municipalities] are already banning the dispensaries, regulating them or putting them under zoning restrictions.”

He said he hopes the trustees will take another look at the issue even before the Legislature acts.

“I’d like to have a more thorough discussion in January about what some of the options are,” Duran said. “I’ve heard from at least a couple of board members who wanted a ban, and others who wanted to regulate. I got the sense that a couple of trustees wanted to take action [before the moratorium expires].”