In a determined and unwavering move, the Windsor Town Board on Monday outlined its position surrounding Amendment 64 and called for a temporary ban on all of the marijuana industry’s enterprises within town limits.
The vote is expected at its next official meeting on Monday.
The board will likely be presented with two emergency ordinances — both halting pot-shop licensing for a to-be-determined time. One measure would place a temporary ban on retail, cultivation, testing and processing facilities. The other would also target private cannabis clubs — a gray area under the new law.
Staff and the town attorney will focus the ordinance on gatherings in a commercial or industrial building with the intention of consuming marijuana, sidestepping much of the private-versus-public debate that has surfaced.
A more sweeping ordinance offering a more permanent ban on all future pot facilities could come to the board in future meetings when all seven members are present for discussion and the vote.
While Monday’s work session was fierce at times, there was little talk surrounding the merit of actually allowing the shops in the community. Instead, the discussion hinged on how best to prevent the industry from “getting any roots” in the community, especially while the state wrestles with the implementation guidelines.
Additional discussion items included the complications with the Colorado Indoor Clean Air Act and the definition of public and private use.
“We won’t be able to keep our arms around it (the industry) no matter how we try to regulate it,” Mayor John Vazquez said adamantly, adding the issue had “too many pitfalls.”
“I’m for an all-out ban. ... I’d like to bring certainty and closure to this sooner rather than later,” he said.
An outright ban would apply only to the industry — not private, recreational use. Under the amendment, individuals 21 years or older can legally grow up to six plants, toke up privately and carry up to one ounce of marijuana without penalty.
At the state level, the Department of Revenue is expected to have its licensing system and logistics ironed out by July 1. If everything goes according to plan, commercial and industrial licenses could start being issued by Oct. 1.
The state’s Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force and its smaller subgroups have been hashing out details in a series of meeting with community representatives from across the state. Those details are emerging are expected in the final Amendment 64 report in the coming months.
The lack of clear direction was reason enough for Robert Bishop-Cotner to put the brakes on an outright ban, insisting instead on a temporary moratorium while details emerge.
“I’d like to see the fog lift and see where we lie in it,” he said, questioning the taxing and financing side of the new industry. “I don’t think we’ve got a firm grasp.”
“I want time,” he stressed. “That’s all I’m asking for is time. I think time is something that we have on our side.”
As Monday’s discussion progressed, it became clear that Vazquez, Don Thompson, Ivan Adams and Mayor Pro-Tem Kristie Melendez support a complete ban sooner rather than later, arguing that a temporary ban would simply delay the inevitable.
“To me the message is very clear-cut what the citizens want,” Melendez said, citing the Windsor November 2010 voter decision that banned medical marijuana dispensaries in town.
Amendment 64 narrowly passed in Weld County with 50.7 percent supporting it in November.
Windsor’s voter data on the ballot issue is not 100 percent accurate because it is split between two counties and some precincts’ boundaries went outside of town limits. The most comprehensive figures indicate that 56 percent of Windsor residents opposed the measure, according to data provided from town clerk Patti Garcia.
“I’d rather take a very proactive, very early stance,” Melendez added.
Myles Baker and Bishop-Cotner were more wary. Baker posed several questions addressing the town’s authority in limiting how many shops there could be and where they could be zoned, hinting that there was somehow a way to represent the other 44 percent of Windsor residents who supported the measure.
Town Board member Jeremy Rose wasn’t at Monday’s meeting, though many predicted he would urge caution and likely opt for a temporary moratorium rather than a more permanent ban.
Emergency ordinances like the temporary ban, which would have an expiration date, will require a five-person supermajority vote.
I’m for an all-out ban. … I’d like to bring certainty and closure to this sooner rather than later.\n
— John Vazquéz, Windsor Mayor