Wake-Up Call: While three cities put pot on hold, Denver prepares to fire up

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Fort Collins, Pueblo and Loveland have joined the ranks of Colorado cities with moratoriums on additional medical marijuana dispensaries -- although their actions yesterday were more limited than the hysterical "emergency" designation on the day's hearings had implied. Fort Collins wound up approving just a three-month pause, Pueblo went for four months and Loveland for eight.

But then, their votes followed Attorney General John Suthers's Monday decision that dispensaries can be taxed -- and the sooner the moratoriums end, the quicker towns can fill their coffers.

Denver has already moved far beyond these other cities in considering what rules and regulations can be imposed on the dozens of dispensaries already operating here, and the dozens more that want in. And taxes are just the start.

This morning, Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown will unveil his proposal for regulating dispensaries before the council's safety committee. He's looking at licensing -- which would be similar to Denver's liquor-license process, with fees and background checks -- as well as limiting locations, so that dispensaries are not near schools or day-care centers.

And he'll no doubt discuss his fact-finding mission last week to Los Angeles, a town that already has well over a thousand dispensaries and is still trying to come up with regulations after more than two years of wrangling with the issue.

I'll be at the meeting; look for live updates later this morning.

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