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Denver City Council Will Move Forward On Recreational Pot

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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Investigator Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver City Council will move forward on recreational marijuana. That was the result of an informal straw poll taken Monday.

The city will not opt out of Amendment 64. Now they have to draw up the regulations, which is not a simple task.

The chairman of the city council committee repeatedly cited a state audit critical of the state Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division as they start to draw up their own plans for controlling legalized pot.

The Releaf Center at 32nd and Tejon is one of some 205 medical marijuana dispensaries. Soon it may open a separate door to sell recreational pot.

“As long as we can maintain our priority, which is our existing customer base and keep them satisfied, then we may be able to serve a dual function, I think that’s ultimately our goal,” Releaf Center owner Larry Stephenson said.

The city council made its intentions clear in the straw vote. It will move ahead with recreational pot regulation despite some strong words for the state regulation of pot so far.

“How can we be sure, and this is the most important question, that this industry indeed will be regulated from seed to sale as we were promised,” Councilman Charlie Brown said.

“Things will be different and things have begun to be different, and we are already in the process of turning things around,” said Barbara Brohl, Colorado Revenue Executive Director.

Though non-binding, the vote was overwhelming 10 in favor, one against, with one abstention.

Now the process begins on making the rules for the city of Denver. For example, the minimum age to buy medical marijuana is 18. Recreational pot will be 21. That could require separate entrances and facilities in existing dispensaries.

“There’s some speculation that we’re going to have to meter them separately, if you will,” Stephenson said. “Have to have a separate side from our medicinal side.”

Rules may also be written about edibles. The city will also have to figure out criminal penalties, civil fines, define “open and public” consumption, hearing procedures, operating fees, and spacing between marijuana stores.

They also spoke Monday about banning marijuana delivery services, and in case anyone gets the idea, marijuana food trucks.

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