(Kathryn Scott Osler, Denver Post file)

Breckenridge Cannabis Club staying for now; pot sales possible ballot issue

The Breckenridge Town Council on Tuesday delayed the eviction of a downtown marijuana dispensary, laying the groundwork for a potential public vote in November on whether to allow pot sales in the downtown core.

The owners of the Breckenridge Cannabis Club were asking the council to reconsider a September 2013 decision that prohibited marijuana shops in the downtown core. That rule allowed the club to remain at its second-floor Main Street location through the end of its lease, which expires Aug. 30.

Tuesday’s decision pushes the pot shop’s potential eviction back to early February, roughly three months after a planned referendum in November.

Map: Colorado recreational marijuana shops and medical dispensaries

The council was pondering a market study to examine the impact of recreational marijuana sales on the town’s image when a council member suggested putting the issue to a public vote. The ballot issue would be written by the council and would include regulations of downtown pot sales. Those rules could include limits on signage, requiring shops to be in second-floor locations, but without displacing residential units, and capping the number of marijuana dispensaries in the town at five.

On first reading, the council voted 6 to 1 to allow the Cannabis Club to remain on Main Street through January and to put Main Street marijuana on the November ballot.

Mayor John Warner voted against the measure, telling his colleagues he preferred to gather more market data on whether the downtown pot shop is impacting the town’s brand.

“I don’t know if it is,” Warner said. “I think if we had some market research we would know more.”

Colorado market research: Study shows 90 percent of state’s recreational marijuana sales happen in mountain towns

Cannabis Club owner Caitlin McGuire said the decision was “a breath of fresh air.” She had lobbied the council to reconsider the ban on Main Street sales, pointing to the lack of police-involved incidents at her dispensary and the educational role her employees play with curious tourists.

Her dispensary has been on Main Street since 2009. She began selling recreational marijuana when it became legal in January this year. McGuire is pleased to see locals will get a chance to voice their opinion on downtown marijuana sales. Summit County residents approved recreational marijuana sales by nearly 70 percent in 2012 and more than 70 percent of Breckenridge residents decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana in 2009.

“I have every confidence that the voters will vote in support of letting us keep our downtown location,” McGuire said.

Jason Blevins: 303-954-1374, jblevins@denverpost.com or twitter.com/jasonblevins

This story was first published on DenverPost.com