Lakewood City Council voted to extended the city’s temporary ban on new legal marijuana businesses for another year.
The voted to extend the moratorium — which will now expire on Feb. 1, 2015 — passed with a 9-1 vote, with Ward 1 Councilwoman Karen Kellen voting no. Ward 2 councilwoman Cindy Baroway was absent.
“Amendment 64, with all its complexities, allows municipalities several options in terms of legal marijuana — we can permit it, prohibit it, or allow the governing body, or the citizens, to submit it to a vote of the public,” Mayor Bob Murphy said.
Ward 4 Councilman David Wiechman offered an amendment to the ordinance, which would make the moratorium on legal marijuana permanent, effectively banning it in the city. He voiced concerns about the city becoming a “pot capitol” and marijuana businesses driving away families and potential businesses.
The amendment was defeated 1-9, with Wiechman as the only yes vote.
“When you look at this ward by ward, residents voted overwhelmingly in support,” said Kellen.
Lakewood resident Susan Cleary spoke against the extension, stating that Amendment 64 did pass, and has become law and cities need to stop putting implementation off.
“Lots of places are waiting and see, but this isn’t going to go away,” she said. “The eventuality is going to come. Voters have already spoken in 2012, it’s 2013 and you want to wait another two years.”
Colorado Christian University’s president Bill Armstrong and vice president of student life, Jim McCormick, were on hand in support of the moratorium.
“I commend the council on the intentionality of the issue on studying the ramifications of enacting in our city,” McCormick said. “Young people are the most vulnerable aspect of the retail presence of marijuana in our city. This might well be one the biggest challenges for young people the council will face.”
McMormick spoke about the dangers of becoming addicted, as well as increases in use and abuse of the drug since medical marijuana became legal.
“I urge council to extend the moratorium and chart a concentrated study path on the real impact of the issue, which will lead to the city opting out of allowing it in the city,” he said.
Also speaking about the moratorium was Mark Geiger, owner and manager of Hollistic Life.
“HB12-84 has proved a failing model for medical marijuana businesses,” he said. “Retail stores will quickly dominate the industry, and give them the ability to acquire large facilities and marketing campaigns.”
Geiger told council it should lift the moratorium in January 2014 and grandfather in the existing centers in line with Amendment 64.
Ward 4 councilman Adam Paul acknowledged the groundwork that medical marijuana businesses have done, and said he sympathized with their concerns.
“Amendment 64 did pass, and in a democracy, that ought to matter,” Murphy said. “It would be presumptuous and dismissive to put a permanent moratorium on legal marijuana.”