The Fort Collins City Council is considering a proposal to “grandfather” in medical marijuana dispensaries, called “centers,” to avoid new zoning guidelines that took effect last year. According to the newly adopted zoning guidelines, the number of centers will be capped at 23, are required to be at least 500 feet away from schools, parks, and churches. They also must be at least 1000 feet away from another dispensary business.
At the time the zoning guidelines were enacted, there were already 19 centers operating in the city limits. They were issued provisional licenses until the city could decide whether to “grandfather” them in. Out of the 19 operating centers, only 2 meet the newly adopted distance guidelines, with 4 others pending. If the City Council fails to “grandfather” in the remaining centers, medical marijuana patients will have their access severely limited. Many dispensary owners fear that such restricted access to medical marijuana will force patients to turn to the black market for their medicine.
One of Denver’s top criminal defense lawyers with experience in handling medical marijuana issues, mentions that there is a similar situation in Denver. It was recently determined that Denver medical marijuana dispensaries that are in violation of zoning laws changed after their creation will be subject to public hearings in 2 years to determine whether or not they can remain open.
Image by harminder dhesi photography [Flickr]
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