Basalt passes emergency ban on marijuana dispensaries
BASALT – The Basalt Town Council passed an emergency moratorium Tuesday night that bans review of applications for new medical marijuana dispensaries even though officials said applicants aren’t exactly beating down the doors of Town Hall.
“This is not intended to head anyone off,” Basalt Town Manager Bill Kane told the Town Council.
Instead, the moratorium is needed to prevent another costly review of a dispensary application, Kane said. The town spent about $10,000 on the review of Basalt Alternative Medicine’s application this summer, Kane said. The expenses were for administrative procedures and legal review. The town cannot afford another review that costly, he said.
The moratorium is for two years, but it can be repealed sooner. The hope is the Colorado Department of Revenue in 2011 clarifies rules on cultivating and selling medical marijuana, as directed this year by the Legislature. That clarity will help towns and cities determine the actions they must take for the review of applications for dispensaries, said Basalt Town Attorney Tom Smith.
The Legislature gave local jurisdictions the ability to halt the processing of applications for medical marijuana dispensaries this year to buy time until state regulations are clarified. Many municipalities and counties have enacted temporary bans.
“This is not inconsistent with what’s going on around the state,” Smith said.
Basalt’s moratorium won’t affect the current license for Basalt Alternative Medicine, also known as BAM. It received its permit from the town last month, and its partners aim to open in the midvalley this month.
If BAM opens, it will be the sole dispensary in Basalt. Aspen, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs all have multiple outlets for the healing herb.
Kane told the council that the moratorium wouldn’t interfere with BAM’s ability to renew its license when it expires in May. But later in the same meeting, Smith said it must still be determined if the moratorium could affect BAM’s ability to renew its license.
Councilwoman Anne Freedman said she could support the moratorium because anybody who wants to acquire medical marijuana can easily acquire it in the valley.
“We’re not depriving anybody,” she said.
The moratorium was passed unanimously by the four members at the meeting: Mayor Leroy Duroux and council members Pete McBride, Karin League and Freedman.
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