Northglenn is no longer accepting applications for retail marijuana shops so officials have more time to reevaluate regulations for the industry.
“There’s a proliferation of marijuana stores in the city already, and I don’t want to see Northglenn have one on every corner,” said Ward 1 Councilmember Carol Dodge. “We need to tighten up our zoning on it, including setbacks on schools, daycares and residences.”
Northglenn City Council passed the yearlong moratorium 8-1 in April, retroactive to March 24. The city will not consider any new applications until March 24, 2015.
Dodge said council may also consider a cap on the number of marijuana facilities in the city of 36,000 residents. There are currently three marijuana stores in Northglenn.
The moratorium does not affect applicants who were already in the process. According to licensing officials in the city clerk’s office, there is one store — High Society Medical Cannabis — that is still in limbo to open on a site at 920 W. 104th Ave.
Current marijuana businesses in Northglenn can expand their physical stores, but they can’t apply for a different type of marijuana license during the moratorium.
“An existing retail marijuana business, for example, could not apply for a marijuana cultivation license,” said city spokesperson Jason Rogers.
Ward 4 Councilmember Gene Wieneke was the opposing vote in the decision to adopt the moratorium. He said the ordinance was pushed through council without a public hearing to shield existing marijuana businesses from competition.
“We’ve never talked about limits of any nature since I’ve been on the council,” Wieneke said. “But it was brought up after an existing store complained, and it just exploded like a balloon. That’s protectionism.”
Other council members said that incident made them realize there was a need to revisit spacing regulations, but the moratorium wasn’t specifically created to protect anyone.
“In my opinion, we were getting so many applications — more than we ever anticipated,” said Ward 1 Councilmember Wayne Dodge. “When applicants were out there measuring (the number of) feet away from other dispensaries, we knew we had a regulation problem.”
Right now, marijuana businesses must be 200 feet from residential property, 500 feet from licensed child care facilities, 500 feet from schools, 500 feet from public parks and recreational facilities and 1,000 feet from other marijuana businesses.
Northglenn and Commerce City are the only two cities in Adams County that allow medical-marijuana operations. Northglenn has allowed medical-marijuana facilities since January 2010 and council voted to allow retail stores last August.
“We’re one of the few cities in the north area that allows it, and so (applicants) are honing in on us,” Dodge said. “People don’t know how small of a municipality Northglenn is. We don’t need to become a city capitol for marijuana.”
Megan Mitchell: 303-954-2650, or firstname.lastname@example.org