Craig City Council begins marijuana amendment process

Move made in response to Colorado voter passage of Amendment 64

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At its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, the Craig City Council:

• Approved, 5-0, Oct. 23 meeting minutes.

• Approved, 5-0, October bills of $851,287.70.

• Approved, 5-0, the renewal of a 3.2 percent beer retail liquor store licenses for Kum & Go locations at 895 Yampa Ave., 1302 W. Victory Way and 700 E. Victory Way.

• Approved, 5-0, the renewal of a tavern liquor license for the OP Bar N’ Grill, Inc.

• Approved, 5-0, the renewal of a retail liquor store license for Elk Liquor Store, Inc.

• Approved, 5-0, a request from Craig resident Bill Guess for a temporary tavern liquor license permit transfer for the former Golden Cavvy. The location’s new name will be The Baker House Bar & Grill.

• Discussed bids for a commercial heater for the wave pool.

• Adopted, 5-0, the second reading of Ordinance Number 1020 to increase municipal court costs from $15 to $20.

• Approved, 5-0, first reading of Ordinance Number 1021 to adopt the 2013 City of Craig budget.

• Approved, 5-0, first reading of Ordinance Number 1024 amending sections 13.48.010 and 13.16.010 of the Craig Municipal Code to increase water and wastewater rates to provide sufficient revenues to maintain the balance of the water and wastewater enterprise funds.

• Heard Craig Police Department monthly report.

Council members Jennifer Riley and Joe Bird were absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

Last week Colorado's marijuana legalization supporters scored a significant victory when voters across the state passed Amendment 64.

But numerous questions have been raised amid Amendment 64’s week old cloud of stale victory smoke.

Amendment 64, a ballot initiative designed to regulate marijuana like alcohol, removes legal penalties for personal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, outlines initial guidelines for the establishment of retail marijuana stores, and makes personal use, possession and limited home growing of marijuana legal for persons 21 years of age and older.

In response to last week’s election results Craig City Council began the process of amending certain sections of the Craig Municipal Code to adhere to the new law, which is expected to receive Gov. John Hickenlooper’s signature anytime in the next several days or weeks.

Craig City Attorney Kenny Wohl introduced the first piece of marijuana-related business, an emergency 60-day moratorium on retail marijuana establishments.

Wohl presented the emergency moratorium because of his concerns revolving around Amendment 64’s still uncertain future.

Though Amendment 64 is expected to receive Hickenlooper’s signature, the new law would run contrary to the federal government’s regulation of marijuana, which would likely incite a legal challenge by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Wohl said.

Even if Amendment 64 survives a potential legal challenge by the federal government, the law provides Colorado’s numerous municipalities with the authority to manage and regulate retail marijuana establishments at their own discretion.

The moratorium would buy the Craig City Council time to establish those regulations until after some of Amendment 64’s questions have been answered, Wohl said.

The emergency moratorium on new retail marijuana establishments was approved by council, 5-0, and takes effect immediately.

It does not have an effect on already established medicinal marijuana dispensaries within Craig city limits, Wohl said, and may be extended another 60 days if needed.

The second piece of marijuana-related business was to introduce Ordinance No. 1023 amending section 9.30.030 of the Craig Municipal Code to be consistent with Amendment 64’s change to the Colorado State Constitution making it lawful for persons 21 years of age or older to possess, use, display, purchase or transport marijuana accessories or one ounce or less of marijuana.

Ordinance 1023 was approved, 5-0, on first reading.

Council members Jennifer Riley and Joe Bird were absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or jmoylan@craigdailypress.com

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