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Clock Ticking For Denver To Figure Out How To Deal With Amendment 64

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Marijuana (credit: CBS)

Marijuana (credit: CBS)

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DENVER (CBS4) – The city of Denver, like many other communities, is now trying to figure out how to handle the state’s new law legalizing marijuana.

The city council held its first Amendment 64 Task Force meeting on Tuesday. The goal is to hash out key issues, including licensing, cultivation, and whether the city should outlaw the sale of marijuana for recreational use.

There are some 500 dispensaries or medical marijuana related businesses in the city of Denver already. Now the city council has to decide whether to not to add recreational marijuana businesses to that number and by what guidelines.

“What about residency rules? Do all the buyers have to be denver residents?” asked Mary Beth Susman, Denver City Council President.

Another issue is what state lawmakers decide.

“A big part of the answer to the question is going to be, will the state create a fairly ‘here and no further’ kind of a structure? Or will they have a lot of local options built in to their statutes?” Assistant City Attorney David Broadwell said.

“I think the council is divided on this issue. Are we going to opt out in Denver and not allow the commercialization of recreational marijuana, meaning no stores in Denver?” councilman Charlie Brown said.

“I think people didn’t want to criminalize people who have small amount of marijuana, but the next question is, ‘How do you feel about having recreational marijuana stores in your neighborhood?’ ” Susman said.

Brown, the chair of the Amendment 64 committee, says the city is trying to stay ahead of the game by figuring out the rules now before the state begins to accept license applications.

“Are we going to have a duel authority to come up with our own rules and regulations pertaining to medical marijuana, or are we going to go by what the state dictates,” Brown said.

“The train is going to start leaving the station Oct. 1. At that point we also need to have whatever regulations we’re going to have place,” Broadwell said.

Many other cities have already voted to ban the sale of recreational marijuana.

If the city council decides it doesn’t want recreational marijuana in Denver, it could pass a city ordinance, or let the voters decide in the next state general election in November of 2014.

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