Marijuana ordinance to make Nederland first U.S. city to regulate pot since its prohibition?
The Amendment 64 Shadow Task Force is made up of activists monitoring a governor-appointed group charged with making recommendations about the implementation of A64, which allows adults 21 and over to possess small amounts of marijuana. Now, the shadow task force is trying to beat the state to the punch via an ordinance that would make Nederland "the first town in America to regulate marijuana since it's prohibition some 76 years ago."
Key members of the shadow task force include Kathleen Chippi and Rico Colibri. They're driving forces behind the aforementioned document, entitled the "Marijuana Establishment Regulation Ordinance."
The act can be found in its entirety below, but here's an excerpt from the "Findings" section that describes the shadow task force's interpretation of Amendment 64:
On November 6, 2012, the voters of the State of Colorado approved Amendment 64. Amendment 64 added section 16 of article 18 to the Colorado Constitution and created a limited exception from criminal liability under Colorado law for adults 21 and over to possess and cultivate marijuana for recreational use and to establish the licensing and regulation of marijuana establishments in a manner like alcohol as described in Amendment 64.
The intent of Amendment 64 was to enable adults 21 and over and licensed marijuana establishments who comply with the provisions of section 16 or article 18 of the Colorado Constitution to legally obtain, purchase, possess, cultivate, grow, use, distribute, sell and display marijuana like alcohol without fear of criminal prosecution under Colorado law.
More than two years earlier, on April 6, 2010, the Town of Nederland approved its own marijuana-related measure: Ballot Issue 1, which, according to the ordinance, "removed municipal penalties related to buying, selling, possessing, consuming, transporting, cultivating, manufacturing and dispensing marijuana and its concentrate and related paraphernalia among persons 21 year of age and older."
The ordinance contends that A64 gives Nederland the right to regulate marijuana-related establishments. But why not wait until the entire state has done so? The ordinance argues that to delay action until statewide laws are blessed (a process expected to take much of this year and perhaps stretch into 2014, with or without federal intervention) would be to empower criminals and endanger the citizenry as a whole, as explained in another segment of the "Findings" section:
If marijuana establishments pursuant to section 16 of article 18 of the Colorado Constitution were not allowed to operate before October 1, 2013, Colorado marijuana consumers who wish to obtain marijuana would have no option but to purchase from the black market, bolstering the profits of criminal organizations, increasing criminal activities and endangering otherwise law-abiding citizens. To allow recreation use of marijuana without providing a lawful source to purchase marijuana is detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare. Marijuana regulations at the state level have yet to be adopted, but given the threat to public health and safety, the town of Nederland is enacting regulations to combat the illegal trafficking of marijuana. The majority of Coloradans voted to regulate marijuana like alcohol, and as such, the Town of Nederland will regulate marijuana establishments in a manner similar to alcohol.
The bottom line, according to the ordinance: "This article is necessary and proper to provide for the safety, preserve the health, promote the prosperity and improve the order, comfort and convenience of the town and the inhabitants thereof."
Chippi elaborates on this statement in an e-mail. "After watching the task force and a handful of elected officials undermine the vote of 1.3 million Coloradans who voted for A64," she writes, "the residents of Nederland decided the way to implement the will of the voters under the new Constitutional amendment was to run a local initiative and set an example for the rest of the state."
The next step for proponents is to collect 420 signatures from registered voters in Nederland and submit them to the town's board of trustees. Afterward, backers hope the board will take up the ordinance and pass it within thirty days after the signatures were verified.
Doing so would obviously be a bold step. But as indicated by the passage of a measure eliminating municipal marijuana-related penalties more than two years before voters approved A64, Nederland is a community known for going its own way. Or, as the Amendment 64 Shadow Task Force puts it: "Move over Netherlands, here comes Nederland."
Continue to see the complete ordinance and an A64 Shadow Task Force news release.
Amendment 64 Shadow Task Force press release:
Move over Netherlands, here comes Nederland.
While most Coloradans anxiously await the implementation of Amendment 64, local activists, Max Rashbaum and Rico Colibri boldly moved forward this week by submitting language for title on a peoples initiative to make Nederland the first town in America to regulate marijuana since it's prohibition some 76 years ago. If adopted Nederland would stand in stark contrast to the unfortunate pattern of local bans on recreational sales throughout the State. Mr. Rashbaum stated, "It's about time Coloradans have the opportunity to express their newly found freedom without fear of being forced into an over regulated market or an unregulated club," echoing the sentiments in the findings of the proposed ordinance.
"If marijuana establishments pursuant to section 16 of article 18 to the Colorado Constitution were not allowed to operate before October 1, 2013, Colorado marijuana consumers who wish to obtain marijuana would have no option but to purchase from the black market, bolstering the profits of criminal organizations, increasing criminal activities and endangering other wise law abiding citizens. To allow recreational use of marijuana without providing a lawful source to purchase marijuana is detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare."
Mr. Colibri, also a member of the Amendment 64 Shadow Task Force, explains that Coloradans need to seize the moment. "Now that Amendment 64 passed it is the property of the people and not just special interest groups lobbing at the capitol." Mr. Colibri also stresses that it is "time to be pro-activists instead of re-activists and not stand idly by while the Governor's Task Force still grapples over unreasonable ideas such as State run stores, arbitrary THC caps, bans on felons in the industry and unconstitutional restrictions on advertising, all of which have less to do with how alcohol is regulated and is more akin to 1937 Reefer Madness." Colibri states Amendment 64 only requires the following issues be addressed: that the State regulate marijuana like alcohol, amending current drug laws to reflect newly non criminal activities, the enactment of an excise tax to fund schools and the implementation of an industrial hemp industry.
The proponents hope to collect 420 signatures from registered Nederland voters to show the Nederland Board of Trustees that the proposed ordinance has strong community support. Which would encourage the Board of Trustees to pass the ordinance within 30 days after the signatures are verified. This would save Nederland from spending money the town doesn't have to pass another costly and burdensome regulatory scheme as it had under HB1284 which cost the town well over $40,000 dollars and caused the closure of 6 out of 8 tax paying MMJ businesses. Reducing marijuana tax revenue from 20% gross to 1.5% in the span of a year. The proponents have intentionally created an inclusive and responsible regulatory model with the concerns of protecting the public health, safety and welfare in mind and hope to set an example that the State and other local municipalities can emulate.
The ordinance was designed to implement the will of the 55% of Coloradans who voted to regulate marijuana like alcohol. The proponents specifically avoided cumbersome medical marijuana like over regulation and used existing liquor regulations as their model. The ordinance regulates retail marijuana stores in a fashion similar to brew pubs which allows for on and off premise consumption, franchising and the ability to manufacture. The ordinance allows for both vertical and non vertical manufacturing, addressing the concerns of rural business owners who might not be able to afford a large grow while giving other businesses control over their product branding and quality similar to the micro-brew industry.
Colorado is famous for the quality of it's micro-brews, a fact recently touted by Governor Hickenlooper, the previous owner of Colorado's first brew pub, the Wynkoop, over a friendly wager. "As I said before, for it to be a fair bet, we would have had to send two to three bottles of Colorado craft beer for every two or three cases of their beer." A concept the proponents hope isn't lost on Hickenlooper's Amendment 64 task force appointed to give regulatory recommendations to the General Assembly.
The proponents point out that even Laura Harris, the head of Department of Revenue Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division, sees the error in over regulation as discussed in a recent article. "The agency has been beset by money woes and had to cut many of its investigators. Even if the agency had all the money it wanted, the state's medical pot rules are a model of regulatory overreach, too cumbersome and expensive to enforce." For more information or if you wish to run a similar initiative in your town please contact Rico Colibri at firstname.lastname@example.org
More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: Activist Rico Colibri on creating Amendment 64 Shadow Task Force."
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