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Wake-Up Call: Pot proposals boil over in Colorado

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What's growing faster than the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado? The number of proposals to regulate them.

But while it now looks like competing concepts will collide at the Colorado Statehouse when it convenes the second week in January, Denver's keeping its steady pace toward regulation, with the first reading of a bill slated for January 4, and a public hearing and vote scheduled for January 11, sealing a deal that councilman Charlie Brown started working on just two months ago.

"The L.A. city council has been working for two years, and they've been unable to come up with any kind of model," Brown said after a fact-finding mission to Los Angeles last month. "There are more than a thousand dispensaries there, more than there are Starbucks. It's just ridiculous. We don't want to become another L.A."

And how.

Ten days ago, the L.A. city council finally passed a measure to restrict medical marijuana clinics -- grandfathering in those that had originally registered with the city, although restricting where they could be located. Councilmembers thought that under these new rules, the number of clinics would top out at 137. But as Los Angeles officials revealed last week, the measure would eliminate all but five clinics in the city.

Five.

So now L.A.'s city council has pushed back consideration of the proposal until January 13, when members will explore other options. By then, if Denver's councilmembers stay the course, this city will have already adopted a reasonable set of regulations.

"We don't want to become another L.A.," Brown said. And he can say that again.

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