Marijuana: Nederland's town rules would allow on-site pot consumption designed for tourists

If state lawmakers don't iron out rules for this state's recreational marijuana industry by the close of the legislative session tonight, the good folks of Nederland just might do it for themselves.

Back in February, activists with the Amendment 64 Shadow Task Force told the Nederland Board of Trustees they wanted to submit language that would create a regulated recreational cannabis and hemp industry at the local level.

As we've reported, members of the A64 Shadow Task Force didn't want to wait around for state officials to come up with enabling legislation for this state's pot industry. So they came up with their own proposal, which they said reflected the original goals of the measure's proponents: "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."

By March, Mayor Joe Gierlach had formed a non-shadow task force to examine how the town could take a local approach to implementing Amendment 64. That group is now wrapping up discussions. Peter Fiori, liaison to the Nederland Sustainability Board and a member of the mayor's task force, says he plans to put a final proposal before the group this week. From there, it will go to the Board of Trustees -- and Shadow Task Force member Rico Colibri predicts it will be approved in the next few weeks.

According to the draft language, the ordinance would allow the town of Nederland to license marijuana retail stores. But unlike the measures currently proposed on the state level, this local ordinance would allow on-site consumption at cannabis clubs that could be open from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

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And in Nederland, marijuana could be sold in two ways: one for off-site consumption in sealed containers, and the other for on-site consumption. Out-of-state tourists would only be allowed to purchase one gram at a time, and only for on-site consumption. "By allowing only on-premise sales in a bar-like atmosphere, tourists can enjoy Colorado's marijuana industry but are consuming the marijuana onsite and have little to nothing to leave with," notes on a previous draft of proposed ordinance read.

The town would also license a minimum of seven retail marijuana stores in Nederland, or one store for every 150 residents -- whichever is greater. Stores would have to be 100 feet from schools -- far less restrictive than the 1,000-foot rule imposed everywhere else. But backers say the town is too small for the 1,000-feet requirement: "State regulations should take this into account unless the State wishes to encourage black-market sales in small rural communities," they maintain.

The Mayor's Task Force on Marijuana will meet at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8 -- just as the state legislature is finishing up its business -- at the Nederland Community Center, 750 Highway 72.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana taxes over 30 percent to start and other highlights from (almost) final pot bills" and "THC driving limit's passage means pot critic William Breathes may never drive legally again."

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