Lone Tree moves to ban retail pot

Officials point to residents’ vote on medical marijuana

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As the Colorado Legislature adopted laws regulating voter-approved recreational marijuana, the City of Lone Tree moved toward banning all but personal use and in-home growing — the rights guaranteed under Amendment 64.

The city council approved first reading of an ordinance May 7 to prohibit the establishment and operation of retail marijuana stores, cultivation, manufacturing and testing facilities within Lone Tree’s limits. Council members agreed after Amendment 64 passed last November to wait and see how the state legislature chose to handle the new law.

The ordinance is set for a May 21 public hearing. Based on Lone Tree residents’ 2010 vote to prohibit medical marijuana establishments within the city, council members anticipate little if any objection to the retail pot ban.

“Medical marijuana is legal in the State of Colorado, as is marijuana now,” Mayor Jim Gunning said. “But we had a vote in the city and county, and it clearly showed people in the city and county didn’t want retail shops for medical marijuana. We’re just making the assumption based on medical marijuana they don’t want retail shops for marijuana either.”

More than two-thirds of Lone Tree voters agreed to prohibit medical marijuana-related businesses within the city during the 2010 election.

Furthermore, Gunning said, the legalities surrounding marijuana remain murky.

“We still feel it’s a complicated issue,” he said. “I don’t think it’s in the best interest for Lone Tree to be involved in retail sales when it’s against the law on the federal level.”

Police Chief Jeff Streeter said his department plans to follow state law “to a T.”

“When they’re over the possession limits, the law will be enforced,” he said. “When they’re within it, we’ll do nothing. I’m not splitting hairs that it’s still illegal at the federal level. It’s state law. We’re going to enforce the state law at this point.”

Streeter, Lone Tree’s chief for just two months, said recreational marijuana hasn’t been a hot topic within the police department.

“I haven’t come in with a directive to do this, don’t do this,” he said. “Quite frankly, it hasn’t even been a subject matter.”

While Lone Tree can bow out of retail marijuana sales, it can’t under the new law prohibit those 21 and over from using marijuana in their homes or growing up to six plants.

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