Council discusses ban on retail sale of marijuana

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As the state works on ways to regulate marijuana, Westminster City Council is also discussing potential regulations.

The option council is leaning toward is an ordinance to ban the retail sale of recreational marijuana in the city.

No official decisions have been made but council discussed the issue during its Jan. 7 study session. Council will formally discuss the ban issue during its Jan. 28 meeting, when the public will have the opportunity to voice their opinions on the city ban.

Under Amendment 64, passed last November, local governments can choose to prohibit, by ordinance or referendum, marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana product manufacturing facilities, marijuana testing facilities, and retail marijuana stores.

Councilman Mark Kaiser made his opposition to the retail sale of the drug clear during the study session. He said he considers marijuana to be the gateway drug and thinks if the city allows the sale of marijuana, demand on the local law enforcement would increase.

“I don’t think there is enough sales tax revenue to offset what it’s going to cost us in law enforcement,” he said.

Councilman Herb Atchison agreed with Kaiser. He said the risk of increased criminal activity if the retail sale of marijuana is allowed isn’t worth it.

“I am very much in line with what Mark is saying,” Atchison said. “I don’t see how we can realize a benefit out of this. I personally don’t want to see this in Westminster. If I had a magic wand, I would like to go back and fix 64.”

During the study session, council and mayor Nancy McNally gave staff the go ahead to begin the process of preparing an ordinance to prohibit the retail sale of marijuana in Westminster. This ordinance will be discussed and possibly voted on during the Jan. 28 council meeting. Anyone interested in speaking in support or opposition to the ordinance will have an opportunity during the public comment portion of the meeting. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Westminster City Hall, 4800 W. 92nd Ave.

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