DILLON — Instead of barring medical marijuana dispensaries, Dillon’s town council is leaning toward saying “yes,” but with heavy regulation.
“I don’t think we should say ‘no’,” said Mayor Barbara Davis at a town council work session Tuesday, noting that restricting the location and operating rules of dispensaries would be a better approach. Even so, council members expressed concerns about medical marijuana coming to town, including the need and even how it may affect the town’s reputation.
Officials hope to have an ordinance in place before the town’s 90-day moratorium on dispensaries runs out Nov. 19. However there’s still another option — a moratorium extension could be imposed if the council can’t come up with acceptable regulations in time.
“This has been an issue that’s been exploding around Colorado,” said town manager Devin Granbery. He recommended getting out in front of it with regulations now, instead of waiting for a dispensary to come to town.
Both Frisco and Breckenridge have already passed ordinances regulating the blossoming medical marijuana industry. Granbery said staff was leaning toward Frisco’s take on it — “a clean and to the point” code that’s “easy to understand.” Breckenridge has adopted a permitting process, a regulation that Granbery said may have a bigger impact on staff time.
Dillon’s potential ordinance incorporates many standards, including a rule confining medical marijuana businesses to Dillon’s commercial and mixed-use zones only. That would be north of Dillon Dam Road and Highway 6.
Other requirements include: Placing the business in a visible store-front location with public views of the entrance and windows; keeping it 100 feet away from an already existing residential unit; not allowing it in a building containing residential dwellings; and keeping it 500 feet away from educational and child-care facilities.
Town council members also said a medical marijuana dispensary shouldn’t be allowed to operate in a “movable or mobile structure.”
Council discussed operational standards — smoking and growing shouldn’t be allowed in a Dillon dispensary, hours should be limited from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., surveillance cameras will be required, and potential business owners and managers would have to pass a criminal background check.
Town staff and council members even considered the possibility of putting a question on the upcoming November ballot, asking Dillon residents their take on having a dispensary within town limits. This wouldn’t necessarily affect Dillon’s proposed ordinance, however.
Dispensary open in Silverthorne
According to Silverthorne’s community development director Mark Leidal, High Country Healing — Silverthorne’s first medical marijuana dispensary — recently opened in the Quiznos building, across from Wendy’s.
The Town of Silverthorne has a 90-day moratorium placed on more dispensaries, and it’s working on its own regulations.
Leidal said Silverthorne’s dispensary rules will be patterned after Frisco’s recently adopted ordinance so jurisdictions can be on a similar page.
Winter Park and Granby recently enacted moratoriums similar to Summit County towns to draft laws of their own.
Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Caitlin Row