As the world’s attention was focused on the pro-marijuana policies being passed in Alaska and Oregon, ironically enough, Lakewood, Colorado was doing the opposite and passing anti-pot legislation. The citizens of Lakewood voted to ban retail marijuana dispensaries in their city.
When Amendment 64 was passed originally, the city of Lakewood set the precedent that they would give it a year before allowing retail marijuana businesses to settle in their city. As of a few months ago, they were supposed to be permitted starting February 2015. With medical marijuana dispensaries already in place throughout Lakewood and surrounding areas, this would not have been Lakewood’s first experience dealing with pot businesses. However, in at a July 2014 city council meeting, the February 2015 date suddenly didn’t seem so realistic as the argument for a ban on retail pot dispensaries became louder and louder.
According to an article in the Denver Post, during the July council meeting, Lakewood council members banned the mass farming, producing, and testing of marijuana in their town. They also banned the creation of hash-oil products, as well as the establishment of pot-smoking clubs. After setting these bans, they decided to allow voters to decide whether or not banning recreational marijuana businesses altogether should be the next step. And they decided that it was.
During the November 2014 election, voters were asked to answer the question: should it be illegal for a retail pot store to operate anywhere in Lakewood? Fifty-five percent of them answered yes, just barely achieving the majority.
Many Colorado cities are setting restrictions and regulations in regards to recreational marijuana dispensaries, some pertaining to distances from schools and other public properties. Many are taking Lakewood’s approach, though, and banning them entirely.
As you can imagine, many businesses, including the medical marijuana dispensaries located in Lakewood, were beginning to prepare for this February 2015 allowance. As a business attorney that works with marijuana dispensaries like these, I wonder if other cities will begin to do the same as Lakewood and enact a ban on these businesses. It also makes me wonder what is motivating these anti-pot policies.
As more states legalize the substance, individual cities develop no tolerance policies. Will this become a trend? And as an owner or shareholder of a marijuana dispensary in or near one of these areas, how can you prepare? What kind of preparations should you make in these regards?
As more and more cities ban these businesses, you can expect that other municipalities will be examining dispensaries closely. Anti-marijuana legislators will seek out wrongdoings. As a business owner, you want to make sure that you’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s. The best way to figure out if your business isn’t in danger of issues is to run your paperwork by an experienced marijuana business attorney. The sooner you evaluate your operation and make sure that your business is doing everything right, the sooner you will be able to stop worrying, and focus on making it as successful as you can.