Longmont moved a step closer to allowing recreational marijuana dispensaries on Tuesday, September 26. In a 5-2 vote, Longmont City Council passed the first reading of an ordinance that would end the city's ban on marijuana sales that dates back to 2011.
Although medical and recreational dispensaries are allowed in unincorporated Boulder and Weld counties just outside of town, both are currently prohibited within Longmont city limits. If the proposed ordinance, which was recommended for approval by both Longmont's principal planner and assistant city manager, ultimately passes through council, four recreational or dual-licensed dispensaries will be allowed within the city, but medical-only shops would still be banned.
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The proposal now moves to a second reading that includes a public hearing before the Longmont City Council on October 2; the council will then vote on the measure. If it receives final approval, the city will work on nailing down rules and regulations for the new businesses, then release its Request for Expressions of Interest document, which will outline the necessary components for would-be applicants to apply for one of the four dispensary slots.
Under the proposal, future dispensaries must be located at least 250 feet from any residentially zoned area and 1,000 feet from any K-12 school, according to the current draft. They would be allowed to open in commercial, commercial-regional, mixed-industrial and business light-industrial zones, but the city's central business district is off limits. The suggested hours of operation for Longmont pot shops is 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Once Longmont approves the four licensees, they must open for business within a year to eighteen months of approval, depending on whether annexation is needed for the location. Each license would be good for one year; licensees would reapply annually.