As Golden City Council continued its retail marijuana discussion, council members seemed to struggle with how social equity might play into the city’s forthcoming regulatory ordinance and licensing process.
Special Assistant to the City Manager Steve Glueck has been working with staff to prepare a draft for consideration.
Staff and the city attorney’s office have reviewed several elements from other Colorado municipalities, looking for administrative and procedural best practices for the licensing of retail marijuana.
Councilmembers have previously expressed strong support for social equity regarding licensing for retail marijuana operations.
Glueck suggested it might be easiest to use the state’s existing social equity license qualification criteria to rank applicants who would be eligible for the minimal number of licenses Golden will offer.
As an altertnative, Glueck said that some communities have reserved licenses for such persons.
According to Glueck, the state’s program is based on either income or being disadvantaged by a previous minor marijuana arrest. Individuals who live or are currently living (for at least 15 years) in a specific census tract between 1980 and 2010 might also qualify.
“The word social equity just, you know, raises some concerns for me and perhaps others trying to understand why we’re putting that term into this particular work that we’re trying to get done now,” said Councilmember Paul Haseman. “And particularly when it appears to say that someone who had a prior marijuana or drug offense is somehow being given an advantage with regard to gaining a license, and I find that just almost inconsistent with what we’re trying to achieve.”
While other council members seemed to like using the state’s criteria, they also agreed that further discussion on what social equity would mean for Golden’s program and future applicants.
Last November, city voters passed the limited retail sales of marijuana to adults within the parameters of Amendment 64 (2A) as well as a 6% tax (2B) on its commercial sale.