Council passes moratorium against marijuana

Sara Van Cleve
Posted

City Council unanimously approved a moratorium prohibiting marijuana establishments in Arvada through Oct. 1.

The moratorium prohibits the operation of any marijuana establishment, including private marijuana clubs, which condone, permit or promote the consumption of marijuana.

It also prohibits the cultivation or processing of marijuana except in a private residence by the dwelling’s resident with the owner’s permission.

“Essentially, what this is going to do is a call a time out on any sort of cultivation or having any sort of marijuana establishment in the city of Arvada,” said City Attorney Chris Daly. “As staff gets more information from state legislation and the rules and regulations that will be adopted, staff will be back in touch with council with recommendations on how to deal with the longer term issue of marijuana within the city of Arvada.”

Provisions under Amendment 64 require the Department of Revenue to develop and approve policies for the regulation of marijuana establishments by July 1, Daly said, and licenses to begin being issued Oct. 1.

The moratorium will be in effect through Oct. 1 so staff can recommend further policies for Arvada pending statewide policies.

The issue was faced with both support and opposition from citizens.

During the public hearing, two residents were against the moratorium but did not speak about the issue.

Arvada resident Aaron Azari spoke in favor of the ordinance though.

“It is clear the residents of Colorado and citizens of Arvada supported the legalization of small quantities of marijuana for private use,” Azari said “It is also true that possession of marijuana remains a federal offense, and there is good reason for it … marijuana is not a benign drug.”

Azari referenced a new study by the National Institutes of Health about the effects of marijuana on adolescents, including a negative effect on brain development.

“Establishing retail businesses which promote behaviors of substance abuse, which have been shown objectively in national journals to harm people, especially young people, should be regulated. To do less would be a collective moral failure.”

Homerule municipalities, such as Arvada, have the power to prohibit marijuana establishments under Amendment 64. However,

“I am in favor of the moratorium,” said District 2 Councilman Mark McGoff. “I just think we don’t have enough information, we don’t have the final state legislation, we don’t have the final rules and regulations from the state … I think the moratorium allows us to gain that information and legal counsel to make a determination after this moratorium.”

The moratorium was unanimously approved by Mayor Marc Williams; Mayor Pro Tem Rachel Zenzinger, District 1; Mark McGoff, District 2; Shelley Cook, District 3; Bob Dyer, District 4; Councilmen At-Large Bob Fifer and Don Allard.