The Craig City Council unanimously approved, 6-0, an emergency moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries Tuesday night, after a public discussion about the issue turned into a shouting match and the mayor closed proceedings.
Councilor Jennifer Riley was the only official absent.
The moratorium will last for 60 days and preclude all operations of medical marijuana dispensaries, as well as prevent city staff from accepting development documents for any such business.
Councilors said the time will give city officials an opportunity to craft specific zoning ordinances for marijuana dispensaries, such as required distances from schools and public parks.
However, the moratorium will not apply to the Craig Apothecary, owned and operated by Craig resident Shaun Hadley and Larry Hill, who owns a separate dispensary in Longmont.
The Craig Apothecary opened Saturday at 611 Breeze St., which means the city cannot force on it any regulations not already approved.
The owners said the business will operate by appointment only, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
There will be minimal outside signage, and they said they plan to install heavy security.
They also said marijuana will not be grown there, but that is a possibility for the future.
Hadley said he would voluntarily comply with any potential regulations the city develops for dispensaries, with the exception of changing his location.
"Any other rules and regulations the council sets forth, we'd be more than happy to comply with," he said.
His location on Breeze Street, however, came under fire from residents opposing a medical marijuana dispensary in Craig. They said it was too near Breeze Park and child day cares.
Several people spoke for and against medical marijuana and dispensaries, which are essentially commercial storefronts for people who serve a large number of registered marijuana patients.
Frank Hadley, Shaun's father and a man who has spent several decades working in drug and alcohol counseling in Craig, said he chose not to consume marijuana after being diagnosed with lymphoma because of his exposure to Agent Orange in the Vietnam War.
However, Frank said the pain was so incredible, he could not tell anyone with cancer they wouldn't be allowed to find the best possible medication for their treatment.
Craig resident John Lawton said, however, those who sell medical marijuana are little more than drug dealers who found a loophole in the law, referring to the constitutional amendment in Colorado approved by voters in 2000.
It is still a dangerous drug, Lawton said.
"There are three reasons I quit smoking marijuana," he said. "It made me stupid, lazy and paranoid. : It has not been studied enough so we know what it does and what doses are required."
The meeting became heated when resident Patrick Germond intimated that Shaun opened Craig Apothecary because he couldn't pass a drug test at his former job as an electrician.
"You're getting : personal," Frank said loudly.
After the tension escalated further, Mayor Don Jones banged his gavel, closed the proceeding and would not let anyone else speak about the issue.
Jessica Asplund, Shaun's girlfriend, said Germond's statement was public slander and asked if she could receive a written transcript of the meeting, to which city staff said she could.
Asplund said she is "strongly considering" filing a civil suit against Germond for his statement.
The two sides continued arguing outside City Hall after the mayor closed public comments.
Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org