Town's draft ordinance floated
A draft ordinance to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in Silverton is up for public review, town officials say, with the document available at Town Hall and published in this week’s edition of the Silverton Standard.
And the Town Council has scheduled a public hearing on the issue for its April 12 meeting.
Yet Mayor Terry Kerwin said he is “not too fond of this ordinance,” suggesting it was overkill and a simpler set of regulations would be more appropriate.
The draft ordinance would allow medical marijuana dispensaries downtown and in the Economic-Development zoned areas of town. It would ban mobile operations “excluding delivery services with a lawful base of operation in San Juan County.”
The draft ordinance also requires a 150-foot buffer zone separating dispensaries from schools, day car centers, parks, public spaces or publicly owned buildings
But Kerwin said it would make more sense, for instance, to just limit such facilities to the downtown Business-Pedestrian zone and then there would be no need for a “buffer zone” around the preschool for instance, which is well outside that area.
“This is a nice attempt to nail it down,” Kerwin said, but he added that the state legislature is drafting its own rules
that will likely make a lot of what the proposed town ordinance deals with unnecessary.
“I’d like to see a much different ordinance than this,” Kerwin said.
He nonetheless went along with the idea of putting the draft out for public input at this point.
Town Administrator Jason Wells said the proposed rules would prohibit mobile operations such as distribution “from a window of a van on the street,” but the town's draft ordinance would still allow delivery of marijuana by medical marijuana providers.
Trustee Pat Swonger questioned whether that was similar to allowing a liquor store to offer home-delivery service.
Swonger too expressed reservations about the draft ordinance. He said with the legislature working on the matter, it might be best to “take the lead by staying behind” until more clarity emerges from Denver.
“Let’s just deal with it like we deal with any other business and not get tied up in all of this,” Swonger suggested.
Wells advised a public comment period on the proposed ordinance and “to the extent we get concerns in the public process we can look into it further.”
He said he’d be willing to look more extensively at how other towns in Colorado are dealing with the issue.
The town imposed a 120-day moratorium on issuing business licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries on Jan. 25 after Silverton resident Mark Mackie applied for a business license to operate a medical marijuana dispensary at a yet-to-be-determined location in town.
Both the town and the state legislature are drafting rules for the blossoming business across the state.
Wells said the town’s attorney, Jeff Robbins of Durango, advises that the town could extend its moratorium if it finds it necessary, provided the town demonstrates it is making progress toward drafting a regulatory framework.
Trustee Chris Tookey said she thought “it would be nice to hear from the people in town” on the issue.
Town Planning Director Adam Sickmiller suggested a public hearing and first reading of the draft ordinance be scheduled.
If the ordinance is found too problematic at that time, the Town Council could go back to the drawing board.