Pubdate: Mon, 16 Sep 2013
Source: Fort Collins Coloradoan (CO)
Copyright: 2013 The Fort Collins Coloradoan
Author: Patrick Malone


Two Existing Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Will Get the First Crack
at Selling to a Broader Population.

Retail marijuana businesses will be allowed to operate in
unincorporated Larimer County beginning early next year. The
proprietors of two existing medical marijuana dispensaries are poised
to be the first.

County commissioners on Monday adopted regulations that would have
nixed the two existing dispensaries based on their proximity to a
church and a drug rehab center, but commissioners chose to grandfather
their current locations.

"We have some people who we have some experience with," Commissioner
Lew Gaiter said. "Let's do this slow and see how they do."

Owners of Flower Power Botanicals and Choice Organics, both located on
East Mulberry Street outside Fort Collins city limits, confirmed they
plan seek the two retail marijuana shop slots allotted by the county.

Cities and counties have until Oct. 1 to begin accepting retail
marijuana business applications or enact bans under Amendment 64,
which voters adopted in November 2013. It legalized use and possession
of up to 1 ounce of marijuana for people 21 and older.

The Larimer County towns of Loveland, Windsor, Estes Park and Berthoud
have banned retail marijuana shops. Fort Collins City Council will
vote Tuesday on a proposed ban.

By authorizing retail operations from their inception, Larimer County
stands to get a share of an excise tax on marijuana sales if voters
approve it in November.

"This is not a moneymaker," Gaiter said, because Larimer County is
authorizing just the two stores, with the existing medical
dispensaries getting first dibs.

Gaiter's point was underscored by the fact that retail marijuana
establishments will not be charged a separate licensing fee by the

For the individual commissioners, authorizing recreational marijuana
sales in Larimer County was a bitter pill to swallow. Each of them
publicly opposed Amendment 64. But by crafting homegrown guardrails
for the retail marijuana trade, the board was content to unanimously
adopt regulations.

"This represents the best that we can do," Commissioner Tom Donnelly

"The job of elected officials is to carry out the wishes of the
voters," Commissioner Steve Johnson said.

The two Larimer County dispensaries that plan to offer retail
marijuana can submit an application to the state starting Oct. 1. The
state has 90 days to accept or deny it. Then the shops have until Feb.
1 to apply to Larimer County for a license to sell retail marijuana.

"It would be great to be selling retail by Jan. 1," said Peter
Verchik, owner of Flower Power Botanicals. "Is that going to happen? I
don't know."


Reefer rules

Guidelines for retail marijuana establishments adopted by Larimer County:

Licenses are limited to two each for stores, cultivation sites,
manufacturing facilities and testing labs. No person can hold more
than one of each type of license.

First priority for licensure is granted to existing medical marijuana
business operators.

License renewal is required annually.

Disallows the sale of edible marijuana products, except tinctures and
topical products, but allows edible products for medical marijuana

Allowed only in commercial and industrial zones.

Retail marijuana businesses can operate only between 8 a.m. and 8
p.m., seven days a week and must be closed on Christmas.

 From property line to property line, must be 1,000 feet or more from
schools, child care homes and child care centers, and 500 feet or more
from colleges, residences, churches, public buildings, parks,
playgrounds and recreation centers. These will apply to future
applicants, but not the two grandfathered dispensaries.

Private marijuana clubs are banned.
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