Pot policy could be finalized | SteamboatToday.com

Pot policy could be finalized

Council debate about regulations for dispensaries to continue

Mike Lawrence

— The Steamboat Springs City Council tonight could give final approval to regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries in city limits.

Or the debate could continue in Steamboat, one of many Colorado municipalities dealing with a sudden surge in the dispensary business. The Denver Post reported Sunday that Denver has issued more than 300 sales tax licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries.

The state Legislature this year could address at least two proposed bills to regulate the growing industry. In Steamboat, the City Council has discussed dispensaries since August, when Kevin Fisher and Ryan Fisher, no relation, came forward with plans for what would become Rocky Mountain Remedies. A second dispensary, D and C Medical Marijuana and Therapeutic Massage, also opened before City Council enacted a 90-day moratorium.

Discussion continued through the fall, and City Council gave initial approval to dispensary regulations Dec. 1, but asked city staff for revisions to protect patient anonymity and clarify points about licensing and signage.

The council tabled the issue Dec. 15 after Councilman Jon Quinn questioned a provision that would allow law enforcement to access video surveillance from dispensaries any time during normal business hours. Quinn said Monday the provision "seemed like an invasion of privacy."

Another issue could arise tonight. Quinn's business, Northwest Data Services, is in Fox Creek Park on Hilltop Parkway. He said other tenants expressed concern after speculation that a dispensary could set up shop at Fox Creek, which also houses residences.

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Quinn said City Council has not fully addressed whether to allow dispensaries in mixed-use developments.

City Manager Jon Roberts said he supports City Council's handling of the issue so far.

"I think the city has done a very thoughtful job of considering the concerns of patients who need medical marijuana, while at the same time trying to foresee potential problems," Roberts said. "What is lacking, in my opinion, is federal standards and then, secondarily, state standards."

City Council is scheduling only two meetings per month this year. Its next scheduled meeting is Jan. 19.

On the agenda

5 p.m. Updates about delivery of local contributions to Samoa, from the environmental group Yampatika, from the Routt County Economic Development Cooperative, and from the Historic Preservation Commission; Community Support Steering Committee’s recommendations for 2010 funding; resolution and motion regarding the March 9 election about the proposed Steamboat 700 annexation; second reading of ordinance regulating medical marijuana dispensaries

7 p.m. Public comment; first reading of ordinances to extend vesting periods for four developments; second reading of proposed zoning changes for 2.1-acre parcel at Storm Meadows Drive and Burgess Creek Road; appeal regarding a proposed subdivision in the Fairview area

If you go

What: Steamboat Springs

City Council meeting

When: 5 p.m. today

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Contact: Call city offices at 970-879-2060 or visit http://steamboats…