The City Council ruled that new medical marijuana dispensaries cannot open in the Fort Collins during the next four months to allow the city time to develop zoning regulations on and processes for background checks.
The moratorium, which was passed in a 6-1 vote Tuesday, will begin on Dec. 11 and will not prevent current dispensaries from operating.
But, a 10-day grace period will allow for about 20 new locations, in addition to the 60 already operating, to open, said Ben Manvel, a council member from D-1.
“We’re not going to have a prohibition of dispensaries,” he said, adding that the City Council has considered the current number of operating locations “adequate” to serve the patients in need of medical marijuana.
During the four-month period, which Manvel called a “little time out,” the city attorney and manager will investigate the city’s medical marijuana industry in terms of the following areas:
impact on residential and commercial areas, and
criminal activity associated with medical marijuana dispensaries.
Caregiver at Colorado Herbal Remedies Douglas Anderson agreed that stricter rules should be implemented and said he anticipated regulations “coming down the shoot.”
Anderson said his biggest expectation from the moratorium is that all of the medical marijuana distribution centers in town will be “on the same page” with their patient care and said felony background checks on should be standard procedure when approving new centers.
Allowing the dispensaries to open in Fort Collins is a state constitutional law, but currently the medical marijuana industry has no zoning limitations.
“It’s kind of the Wild West at the moment,” Manvel said.
“I think there is a general consensus out there that having a dispensary next to a public school conveys an impression of a threat to public welfare.”