LOUISVILLE, Colo. (CBS4) – City council members in Louisville heard plenty of public comment on recreational marijuana Tuesday as they considered a moratorium on retail pot shops.
Dozens of people spoke in favor of and against a moratorium in a standing-room only meeting that stretched on for hours.
Ultimately the council voted unanimously to pass a moratorium blocking retail sales of the drug within city limits, with the intent of giving themselves more time to determine how to proceed with laying out city ground rules for how future regulations should be put in place.
“At the moment there’s just no reason not to do this so we can give ourselves more time to continue work on the process,” Louisville Mayor Bob Muckle said. “This remains a work in progress.”
Also under consideration is a possible vote next year for residents to make the call on whether retail shops should be allowed at all.
“It makes sense to put it to the voters,” Muckle said.
Many opponents to retail shops in the city said they were concerned about safety issues, but those in the pro-marijuana crowd pointed to the two existing medical marijuana dispensaries in Louisville that so far have had no major crime issues after several years in business. Owners of both of those shops were among those who spoke before the council, saying they are “fighting for their businesses.”
Those two existing dispensaries — Compassionate Pain Management and AlterMeds — could be at a disadvantage from a sales standpoint if they are unable to sell recreational pot starting in 2014. Boulder and Denver may have such stores at the start of the year, and it’s thought many pot buyers would just go to the bigger cities to purchase marijuana without the extra step of needing a state-issued medical marijuana card.
Colorado’s Amendment 64, approved by voters last year, legalized recreational use of marijuana and retail sales of the drug. A statewide vote will take place next month to determine whether a state tax will be imposed on retail marijuana sales.