Pubdate: Tue, 29 Dec 2009
Source: Pueblo Chieftain (CO)
Copyright: 2009 The Pueblo Chieftain
Author: Tracy Harmon, The Pueblo Chieftain
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


The Town Has One Dispensary In Operation With Others Poised For Opening.

CANON CITY - While Pueblo has put medical marijuana dispensary
licensing on hold until June 1, Canon City Council will mull its own
ordinance Jan. 19.

"We have one medical marijuana dispensary which continues to operate
on Main Street and three or four others that we've put on hold pending
the outcome of the ordinance," said John Havens, Canon City attorney.

Medical marijuana is used to treat pain associated with several
maladies including cancer, arthritis, epilepsy and glaucoma. Those who
use it must register to obtain a state license to legally possess the

In the proposed ordinance penned by Havens, Canon City, "Wishes to
comply with the provisions of state law pertaining to the medical use
of marijuana, while also limiting the locations within the city where
marijuana may be cultivated, processed, kept and distributed for
medical use by patients."

Specifically, Havens' suggested ordinance would limit dispensaries to
general commercial or central business zones. It also restricts
distance from schools and licensed day-care facilities of at least 300
feet. The ordinance also would require a business plan to include
required documentation such as number of patients served, plus
description of any cultivation including where it occurs and number of
plants grown. In terms of signage, the business would have to use the
word medical immediately before such words as marijuana or cannabis.

That would mean a slight change in name for the city's current medical
marijuana dispensary, Rocky Mountain Cannabis, located at 520 Main St.
Primary caregiver Jeremiah Johnson told Havens before opening the
business two months ago that he estimates there are in excess of 120
registered medical marijuana patients in Fremont County.

"That number has probably gone up," Havens said. "Currently there is
no limit on the number of patients," so the local dispensary could
provide for Pueblo patient needs.

There is a limit set on number of plants per patient, which is six.
Rocky Mountain Cannabis does grow some of its plants but it is done
off premises by the caregiver outside city limits, Havens said.

"The plants can be in possession of the patient or the caregiver and
in most cases it is the caregiver because the caregiver is better at
the science of cultivation," Havens said.

Havens said he drafted his proposed ordinance so that dispensaries
would have to comply with local or state requirements, so if the state
Legislature passes draft legislation penned by Sen. Chris Romer,
D-Denver, which requires licensing of dispensaries and growers, then
local businesses would have to comply.

Havens said he cannot predict what will happen when the full council
weighs in on the ordinance. There are several options including
requiring licensing, adopting the ordinance as is, amending the
ordinance or imposing a moratorium.

"Some citizens were vocal at the planning commission meeting, saying
they prefer the city prevent dispensaries. There is a lot of cynicism
and suspicion connected with medical marijuana that dispensaries would
allow the sale of recreational marijuana, but I don't see that in
connection with our one operation here," Havens said.

According to the Rocky Mountain Cannabis Web site, the dispensary
offers a variety of products that can be eaten, smoked or vaporized or
administered through tinctures, lotions and creams. 
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