(Seth A. McConnell, Denver Post file)

Golden banning recreational marijuana businesses within city limits

GOLDEN — The City Council voted Thursday night to prohibit sales of recreational marijuana and tightened rules for medical marijuana in Golden.

The council unanimously passed three ordinances after hearing nearly 35 public comments, most of them pleading for the prohibition of recreational marijuana in the city.

“Our brand is a healthy community,” Mayor Marjorie Sloan said. “We want to protect our image and our community.”

One of the few dissenting comments came from Shawn Steigner, who served on the city’s marijuana task force that researched the issue for a report in April.

“Civil discourse is how we operate, and I was certainly representative of this during the meetings,” Steigner said. “There was a bit of predetermined railroading during these meetings.”

Steigner presented the council with a five-page report signed by three other members of the 10-member task force.

Bud in the ‘burbs: Denver has more than 70 recreational shops for 650,000 city residents. For the 2 million living in the suburbs, there are less than a third as many stores

Three members of the task force — Sloan, Pamela Gould and Laura Weinberg — hinted at possible future adjustments in Golden’s ban as the issue evolves in the state and nation.

“We in Golden are of a size and of a character that we shouldn’t be of a leading edge on the changes,” Weinberg said. “I think for now this is the right decision.”

For now, with the passage of Ordinance 1977, recreational marijuana shops and all related businesses are prohibited within city limits. The ban includes testing facilities, for which council had previously considered making an exception.

Council also tightened up regulations on medical marijuana businesses, barring them from within 1,000 feet of any school — from preschool through college or university — and requiring them to be in a manufacturing zone.

Under a third ordinance passed Thursday night, cultivation of marijuana, legal under state law, is limited to residential dwellings. It is not allowed outdoors and must not be detectable by smell or because of undue vehicular or foot traffic outside of the residence.

Map: Colorado recreational marijuana shops and medical dispensaries

This story was first published on DenverPost.com