Commerce City council engage in the gray area of medical marijuana

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What we learned is that a home rule city really can't over rule a state issue that was voted by the people (Amendment 20), no matter what your personal feelings about it are. Also, we learned marijuana is not a prescription, but rather a complex care taker - patient type relationship that in the end maybe subject to the 3.5% sales tax, if of course the transaction takes place within the city limits.

What a home rule city can do is regulate where business can go and put certain restriction on them.

Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, it is legal as "medical marijuana" at the Colorado state level, and is legal in certain amounts at some extent at the neighboring Denver city level. Recently, at the federal level, the opinion currently is that they are going to not really enforce the law for the state level medical part at this point in time.

So can Commerce City just say no Medical Marijuana in our city limits? Sure they can, but it will most likely end up in the courts. Further, the Commerce City planning board has already giving a suggested approval for Commerce City council to consider. This new and very gray issue is not court tested and is a top topic for most all of the surrounding cities and was even a questioned asked to the 2009 candidates at a recent forum.

So at the end, what did Commerce City end up doing. The Commerce City Council amended the ordnance to include, no wholesalers, increased security which included video monitoring at all doors and windows and a Commerce City staff review of at 6 months or as needed. With these additions the following is the rest of the ordinance (1770), which still will need to go to a second reading.

Location. No medical marijuana dispensary shall be located within 1,000 feet of the following:
(a) The exterior boundary of any public zone district;
(b) The exterior boundary of any residential zone district;
(c) The exterior boundary of any existing or occupied mobile home;
(d) The exterior boundary of any lot on which there is located a single family or multifamily
residence, whether located within or outside of the city;
(e) Any church or religious institution;
(f) Any educational institution or school, either public or private;
(g) Any licensed child care facility;
(h) Any alcohol or drug rehabilitation facility;
(i) Any group home for the developmentally disabled;
(j) Any public community center, park, fairground, or recreation center, or any publicly
owned or maintained building open for use to the general public;
(k) Any other medical marijuana business whether such business is located within or
outside of the city; or
(l) Any halfway house or correctional facility.
(3) Advertisements. Advertisements, signs, displays, or other promotional material depicting
medical marijuana uses shall not be shown or exhibited off the premises or in any manner which
is visible to the public, from roadways, pedestrian sidewalks or walkways, or from other public
areas.
(4) Indoor Use. All business related to, or consumption of, medical marijuana shall be conducted
indoors, and all building openings, entries, and windows shall be located, covered, or screened in
such a manner as to prevent a view into the interior; and for new construction, the building shall
be constructed so as to prevent any possibility of viewing the interior from the exterior of such
structure.
(5) Security. Medical marijuana dispensaries shall provide adequate security on the premises. At a
minimum, such security shall include:
(a) Security surveillance cameras installed to monitor the main entrance and the exterior of
the premises to discourage and to facilitate the reporting of criminal acts as well as
nuisance activities. Security video shall be preserved for at least 72 hours.
(b) Robbery and burglary alarm systems which are professionally monitored and maintained
in good working conditions.