Budtender Nikki Desiderio helps customers at the Helping Hand recreational marijuana store on Sept. 16, 2015 in Boulder. (Jeremy Papasso, Daily Camera)

Updated regulations for Boulder marijuana businesses move forward

BOULDER — Marijuana businesses in Boulder would have the ability to request quasi-judicial hearings when they face revocation or suspension of their licenses under an amendment to a series of revisions to the city’s pot regulations that moved forward late Tuesday night.

The City Council voted 6-3 to add the provision about the hearings to the marijuana ordinance. The ordinance is going to a third reading on Nov. 10, the last meeting of the current City Council before new members are sworn in.

Marijuana business owners and their attorneys have said they need a way to appeal violations before going to Boulder District Court because appeals at the district court level only look at procedural, not factual, issues or interpretation of code.

“Right now these businesses have no recourse for a neutral hearing, and I think that’s really important,” Councilwoman Lisa Morzel said.

The City Council chose not to vote on an amendment to make it clear that marijuana businesses could engage in advertising related to sponsorship of community events, but the sponsorship issue may be discussed Nov. 10. However, many council members wanted to defer that issue to working groups that will be convened next year to look at further changes to the city’s marijuana regulations.

Boulder Mayor Matt Appelbuam and council members Tim Plass and George Karakehian voted no on the amendment, in large part because they didn’t like adding more provisions at the last minute. Council members Morzel, Mary Young, Andrew Shoemaker, Suzanne Jones, Macon Cowles and Sam Weaver voted yes.

The ordinance itself moved forward unanimously.

The ordinance would also remove language that talks about “zero tolerance” for violations, allow for an administrative hearing when fines are assessed, allow infused product facilities to get marijuana from outside Boulder and eliminate a deadline of Dec. 31, 2015, to convert from medical to recreational or lose that privilege forever.

The ordinance also clarifies that stores can sell seeds; gives shops more flexibility in how they store cash and marijuana, provided it’s sufficiently secure; restricts the extraction of marijuana in homes; and allows the transport of marijuana between cultivation facilities.

This story was first published on DenverPost.com