Idaho Springs approves law that regulates recreational pot shops

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By Ian Neligh

The Idaho Springs city council on Sept. 23 unanimously approved an ordinance allowing retail sales of recreational marijuana, ushering the new industry into the city beginning in 2014.

However, two owners of existing marijuana businesses, Theran Snyder of the Kine Mine and Stephanie Collins of Mountain Medicinals, are concerned the ordinance doesn’t allow them to grow enough marijuana to meet customer demand.

City Attorney Carmen Beery said the ordinance allows marijuana businesses to build a single grow facility for each type of license they have, whether that’s a medical marijuana or a retail marijuana license.

It also limits the number of recreational and medical marijuana stores in the city to three — the number already in business in the city.

The ordinance also requires separate entrances for those purchasing medical marijuana and those purchasing recreational marijuana, a provision that Snyder said could create problems for the local businesses.

“I would suggest that we go ahead and enact this (ordinance) the way we’ve got it,” said Mayor Jack Morgan. “The city attorney spent a lot of time writing this, and the council has the power to change this any time we feel like we want to change it. If it gets to be troublesome or it doesn’t work properly, you can come back before the council.”

The ordinance technically lifts the city’s moratorium on new marijuana businesses, which was put in place earlier this year, even though the number of shops won’t change.

Colorado voters last November approved Amendment 64, which makes it legal for adults to possess less than 1 ounce of marijuana. The tally on Amendment 64 in Idaho Springs saw 87 percent of the 880 residents voting cast yes votes.

On Oct. 1, the three current medical marijuana businesses may begin applying for recreational marijuana business licenses, and if the licenses are approved, they may begin selling in 2014.


Growing marijuana

Snyder said it’s essential that he expand the marijuana-growing portion of his business. Snyder already has two growing facilities, which will still be allowed to operate since they were in place before the latest council vote.

He said the industry doesn’t grow enough marijuana to accommodate the current demand by medical marijuana customers.
Snyder said marijuana businesses are trying to figure out how to accommodate the future marijuana demand, saying he turns away people from his business every day.

“I’m struggling to meet the need. We can’t meet the demand unless (the city) allows us to expand,” Snyder said. “I don’t think Colorado understands what spring break 2014 is going to be like.”

Addressing the council before the vote, Snyder said he didn’t want to slow the process of approving the ordinance but had questions about expanding his business that he felt should be addressed.
Collins said she also wanted to build an additional medical marijuana grow facility, which the ordinance will not allow.

Council member and mayoral candidate Phyllis Adams suggested that the two, given the complexities of the issue, bring their concerns to city staff in written form. 

“The questions almost immediately get so complicated that I would suggest that it might be more efficient for everyone … (to put them) in writing. If the staff is unsure, they can get input from the attorney.”


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editor@evergreenco.com, and check www.clearcreekcourant.com for updates and breaking news.