Lone Tree bans marijuana clubs

Further measures will hinge on next steps taken by state

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The Lone Tree City Council has approved a measure to ban any pot clubs from opening there.

The city’s leaders adopted the emergency ordinance during their Feb. 19 meeting with little discussion, prohibiting the opening of the kind of private, bring-your-own-pot gathering places that popped up elsewhere in the state in the wake of Amendment 64’s passage.

The council will wait for a final report from the state’s marijuana task force to take any other action stemming from the legalization of recreational marijuana. The task force, which will make recommendations to the state by Feb. 28, is sorting through the legal ramifications and other issues surrounding implementation of the new law.

“Everybody is playing a waiting game with the state,” Lone Tree Mayor Jim Gunning said.

Amendment 64, approved by voters during the November 2012 election, left an opt-out for communities that don’t want to provide business licenses for marijuana shops. But the law doesn’t require communities to begin accepting those applications until Oct. 1, so Lone Tree and other Colorado communities can afford to wait.

The council felt pressed, however, to address the issue of pot clubs. In January, private marijuana clubs opened in Denver and Del Norte, though Del Norte’s quickly closed. Denver’s venue charges a fee to members who provide their own marijuana, and doesn’t sell the drug. Amendment 64 prohibits public marijuana consumption, so the private club gives pot-lovers a place to congregate without any apparent violation of the new law.

The Parker Town Council also voted to ban marijuana clubs with a unanimous Feb. 4 vote.

Citing a 2010 election in which more than two-thirds of Lone Tree voters agreed to ban medical marijuana shops from the community, council members have said they’ll likely vote to disallow recreational marijuana shops as well.

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