Pubdate: Tue, 14 May 2013
Source: Summit Daily News (CO)
Copyright: 2013 Summit Daily News


Lawmakers in Denver approved a historic and hard-won package of bills
May 8 implementing a legal framework for the recreational consumption
and sale of marijuana, and they're giving medical cannabis retailers a
head start to the gate of the budding industry.

In Breckenridge, the owners of at least one dispensary plan to take
advantage of it.

"Being in a resort town, there is a huge client base that we don't
currently have access to," said Caitlin McGuire, of the Breckenridge
Cannabis Club. "We're definitely excited and interested to see how,
moving forward with the recreational licenses, how that will affect us
as a business. We do plan on applying for one."

Other retailers have also expressed interest in making the transition
to recreational sales, but there are still a number of questions to be

For Charlie Williams, owner of Alpenglow Botanicals in Breckenridge,
the biggest one is when and where he can establish a grow operation
for recreational products. He says his current harvest isn't enough to
support recreational sales.

"If they'll let me produce in conjunction with bringing up sales, then
lovely," Williams said. "If not, then all they've done is benefit the
big guys out of Denver."

Legislation passed last week is the first of its kind in the country.
In addition to permitting the sale of pot and paraphernalia in
licensed stores, the laws give current medical-marijuana dispensary
owners nine months of lead time to apply for permits to begin selling
products for recreational use. Only Colorado residents are allowed to
own or invest in stores.

Colorado voters made it legal for adults over the age of 21 to
possess, consume and purchase up to an ounce of marijuana by approving
Amendment 64 to the state Constitution in November. The measure
charged lawmakers across the state with creating a regulatory
framework for the sale and taxation of the drug, requiring that laws
be enacted during the 2013 legislative session, which ended last week.

State legislators responded with a package of statutes that will
require that marijuana be sold in child-resistant packaging, allow
voters to decide whether to impose a 15 percent excise tax and an
additional 10 percent sales tax on the drug in the next election and
implement a high-driving limit.

Colorado residents will be allowed to purchase up to an ounce of
marijuana without a medical card. Out-of-state residents will be able
to buy only a quarter of an ounce at a time. The new laws ban smoking
in bars and coffee shops and impose a serving-size limit on edible

All of the bills are awaiting Gov. John Hickenlooper's approval. He
has indicated he will sign them.

Local governments have the option to ban marijuana use within their
jurisdiction or to further regulate it within the state's guidelines,
but in Summit County most elected officials have yet to make any final
decisions. Legalization comes on the heels, for most local towns and
the county, of several years of debate over rules for the medical
marijuana industry.

Members of the Breckenridge Town Council began discussing the issue
last week. While nothing formal is in place, officials say regulations
will likely follow the same pattern that exists for

"We spent so much time talking about medical marijuana," Breckenridge
Councilman Mike Dudick said. "With respect to the locations of stores,
we want to maintain the same restrictions that are currently in place
for medical dispensaries, which means nothing new in the core of
downtown and away from schools."

Those existing regulations have pushed most dispensaries into
Breckenridge's business district on Airport Road.

Officials in Frisco and Dillon say neither town has made any decisions
regarding recreational marijuana since state lawmakers approved the
package of bills last week.
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