Marijuana: Nederland's efforts to regulate pot before state don't get far

As Nederland attempts to become the first U.S. city to regulate marijuana since its prohibition, it's clear the road will have its share of bumps. The town's Board of Trustees gathered on a snowy Tuesday night to begin the convoluted process of opening stores to the recreational sale of pot. Members spent much of the meeting discussing potential zoning issues and how and when to initiate a task force.

The Marijuana Establishment Regulation Ordinance, a people's initiative, is a catalyst for the town's decision to eschew the official Amendment 64 Task Force's implementation timetable in favor of its own. The board acknowledged that this group is largely be responsible for recommending regulatory language such as labeling and dual licensing, but local politicians are choosing to move forward with a task force of their own.

As the board struggled to solidify language outlining how many people to include on the task force (seven members, three alternates), a handful of citizens in the audience voiced concern that a process utilizing a task force, and the board's self-imposed timeline, ignores the initiative submitted by the people of Nederland. The meeting was not open to public comment, so the board moved forward with plans to accrue members for a task force to investigate specific zoning regulations, licensing and proximity issues.

The board will have much to consider as it moves forward, keeping one eye on developments at the State Capital, as well as monitoring the federal pulse. But for a town at the forefront of marijuana legalization, it has positioned itself in the center of the fishbowl. The process is an interesting collision of small-town politicking and national implications. Board members are aware of the state's hard deadlines for implementing Amendment 64, but they questioned whether the state would be able to flesh out the full regulatory measures by those deadlines. Should the state fail to do so, they want, in the words of one board member, "to be ready to pounce."

The meeting concluded with few things set in concrete, but Alisha Reis, the town administrator, said that board plans to finalize task force plans by the time of the next meeting, Tuesday, March 5.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana ordinance to make Nederland first U.S. city to regulate pot since its prohibition?"

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