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Wake-Up Call: Denver goes to pot today!

Charlie Brown's proposal to regulate the city's medical marijuana dispensaries will be presented to the full Denver City Council at tonight's meeting.

Since the council's Safety Committee first started considering his proposed ordinance in November, the number of sales-tax licenses issued to medical marijuana dispensaries has more than doubled, to over 300 already doing business, or intending to do business, in Denver.

For any dispensary seeking a license after January 1 (or December 1, or December 15 -- that date is up for debate), the ordinance would create a 1,000 foot buffer zone between a dispensary and schools/daycares, as well as any other dispensary. It would also require all dispensaries to apply for specific medical marijuana dispensary licenses by March 1, and those licenses would come with a whole roster of other requirements, including background checks and hefty application and annual fees.

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Although a public hearing on Brown's proposal won't be held until next Monday, January 11, critics are already sounding off. Some businessmen are pushing for a complete moratorium on any new dispensaries. On the other hand, the Cannabis Therapy Institute calls the ordinance "a solution in search of a problem." Right now, Article XVIII, Section 14 is working to provide patients with their medicine. The Denver ordinance would greatly restrict this right."

And then, of course, there's state senator Chris Romer's proposed bill for the Colorado Legislature, which would regulate not just dispensaries in the state, but also grow operations -- and require all medical marijuana sold in this state to be grown here. He's accepting comments on this latest draft until tomorrow. A competing measure is also in the works; this one is reportedly coming from law-enforcement, and you can read it here.

Where there's smoke, there's ire! Want to watch the action in person? City council convenes at 5:30 p.m. today in Room 450 of the Denver City & County Building.

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