Final vote on city’s medical marijuana ordinance set for Tuesday


The Boulder City Council is poised to give final approval to its medical marijuana ordinance on Tuesday night, and city staff are in the process of reviewing how that ordinance meshes with state legislation on the same topic passed this week.

The ordinance is scheduled for third reading at the May 18 meeting.

During the first in a new series of press briefings that city officials are holding biweekly to preview items on upcoming city council agendas, Senior Assistant City Attorney Kathy Haddock gave an overview of the proposed ordinance.

She said a full analysis of areas where the city regulations would trump the new state law — and vice versa — should be completed in the next several weeks.

According to Haddock, there are provisions in the state legislation that expressly permit municipalities to set their own rules — even if they are less restrictive than state law.
For example, she said, one of those areas is the minimum distance allowed between a dispensary and a school. The proposed state law, which hasn’t been signed by the governor yet, calls for medical marijuana facilities to be located at least a thousand feet from any school — including universities. But since the legislation allows cities to set their own rules in that area, Boulder’s proposed ordinance would apply, meaning that dispensaries would need to be at least 500 feet away from any school. But Boulder’s ordinance does not include universities in the definition of a school, saving a sizable section of University Hill and other areas around the University of Colorado from being off limits to dispensaries.

Under the proposed Boulder ordinance, dispensaries already in compliance with the city’s interim regulations would have until Oct. 31 to apply for a license under the new ordinance. Those that are not in compliance have until Aug. 31 to apply for a license.
In 2009, the city collected $73,907 in sales/use tax from medical marijuana dispensaries. Through the first two months of 2010, Boulder had already collected more than half that amount, $47,591.

Also at the press briefing, city staff discussed Open Space and Mountain Parks’ new grassland ecosystem management plan, which covers the city’s 24,000 acres of grasslands and increases the protection of black-footed prairie dogs in those areas by adding about 400 acres to the lands previously deemed as protected prairie dog areas. It also adds 170 acres of land designated as “receiving sites” — places to which the prairie dogs can be relocated, according to Mark Gershman of Open Space and Mountain Parks.

City officials also previewed the city’s SmartRegs proposal, which, among other things, would require residential rental properties to become compliant with new energy efficiency standards over a two- to four-year period.

The city council’s full agenda packet is expected to be posted online later today at

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