Marijuana moratoriums to be extended

ALAMOSA — Alamosa city councilors on Wednesday night unanimously decided to extend temporary moratoriums on marijuana consumption clubs and manufactured homes in the city limits and passed on first reading an ordinance placing a temporary moratorium on medical and retail marijuana establishments, should voters approve them in November.

The council will hold a public hearing on the newest proposed moratorium during the October 4th council meeting.

No one spoke during the public hearings Wednesday night regarding the marijuana and manufactured housing moratorium extensions.

The manufactured housing moratorium will be extended until the end of December. The council expects to act on development codes by that time.

The marijuana consumption club moratorium was extended until May 1 of next year, the same ending date for the proposed moratorium on retail and medical establishments if voters approve them in the November election.

Alamosa City Manager Heather Brooks explained that the council would have a better idea after the election what the public sentiment is towards marijuana sales in the city, which could affect how or if the council moves forward with consumption clubs. If the ballot questions asking approval of medical and/or retail marijuana sales in the city limits are successful, a moratorium on marijuana-related businesses would give the city time to develop appropriate regulations, zoning and requirements for such businesses, Brooks added.

City Attorney Erich Schwiesow added that four members of the city staff would be attending a marijuana regulatory symposium in Denver this fall, and that would give them more information on how to deal with marijuana businesses, should voters approve them.

Brooks said although the moratoriums would be in effect until May 1, 2018, if the city council moved more quickly in developing regulations governing marijuana businesses, it could lift the moratoriums sooner.

Brooks said the city could accept applications during the period of the moratorium, should the marijuana ballot issues succeed, and the city has heard from one interested individual already.

During the public comment portion of Wednesday night’s meeting, Judith Gritz, who lives just outside the city limits and owns property in the city, urged city voters to deny the marijuana ballot questions. She said other places such as Pueblo that have permitted marijuana businesses have seen increases in homelessness, robberies and other crimes.

She added that marijuana is already available to people who need or want it in Alamosa.

“I am saying to the voters, why not make Alamosa the one city in Colorado that does not allow marijuana in the city,” Gritz said, “and keep Alamosa from going to pot.”