Centennial Mayor Cathy Noon (Denver Post file)

Centennial: Shop elsewhere for recreational marijuana

Centennial City Council is set to ban recreational marijuana stores, citing community feedback.

Council had placed a moratorium on recreational establishments after Colorado voters approved Amendment 64 in November 2012. Centennial voters were against Amendment 64, voting 34,628 to 33,201.

The moratorium was to expire in September of this year.

Mayor Cathy Noon said the council and city staff have spent the past few months getting input from businesses and residents about allowing recreational marijuana storefronts. Outreach included business advisory meetings, meetings with the youth and senior commission and local district meetings.

“We were hearing that it wasn’t the image — it wasn’t something that the city of Centennial wanted to portray,” Noon said.

She also said that no council member has expressed opposition to a ban. She said the city attorney came to council last month and said that if recreational marijuana was something council wanted, members would have to begin approving and working on regulations to allow it. Centennial banned medical marijuana in 2011 and essentially the city would be starting from scratch on regulations.

The second reading and public hearing for the ban is scheduled for April 14 at council’s regular meeting.

Map: Colorado medical dispensaries and recreational marijuana centers

Sheri Chadwick, spokeswoman for Centennial, said any resident could collect enough signatures for a petition referendum to challenge the ban. She also said the ban would go into effect about May 18 depending on when the city clerk approves publication of the ordinance. The ordinance also makes it clear that residents can still own marijuana plants, up to 30 per household or up to six plants per five household members. Chadwick said the city would enforce the plant numbers through resident complaints.

Noon said the feedback council got showed there are concerns that marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Since recreational marijuana businesses typically don’t use credit cards or work with banks because of federal prohibitions, the shops could be more likely to attract crime and detract from nearby businesses.

Even if the council did move to allow recreational marijuana businesses, voters would have to approve an excise tax, Noon pointed out, which is doubtful since Amendment 64 did not pass in Centennial.

Corri Spiegel, economic development manager, said during a meeting with the city’s technical advisory group of businesses that some were concerned that nearby marijuana stores would lower property values.

Noon said no one has approached city government about allowing marijuana businesses. The city had taken this long to propose a ban because officials wanted to be thorough in getting feedback from residents and businesses.

She added: “A city never turns down sales tax unless we realize that what you get with it isn’t worth it.”

Clayton Woullard: 303-954-2953, cwoullard@denverpost.com or twitter.com/yhclayton

This story was first published on DenverPost.com