Todd Stevens, of Native Roots in Longmont, helps customers with marijuana sales on May 6, 2016. (Cliff Grassmick, Daily Camera)

Another Colorado town considers lifting ban on retail marijuana businesses

Longmont would lift its years-old pot-shops ban and allow up to four businesses to sell marijuana and marijuana products, under an ordinance up for an initial City Council vote on Tuesday night.

The ordinance, drafted by the city staff after a majority of council members informally agreed earlier this year on what regulations and restrictions they’d want included if marijuana sales are permitted, would allow marijuana sales shops only in commercial and industrially zoned areas of Longmont.

No pot shops would be permitted in the city’s downtown Central Business District. or in any areas of the city that are in residential zoning districts. Any marijuana store would have to be at least 250 feet away from a residentially zoned area and at least 1,000 feet away from any kindergarten, elementary, middle or high schools. The shops would be allowed to operate between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily.

At least one council member’s “no” vote is expected on the ordinance. Councilman Gabe Santos has consistently opposed allowing any medical or recreational marijuana sales shops inside the city, just as he did when the then-council members imposed the current bans.

“As a council member, I’m stuck between federal law,” which still makes the possession, use, distribution and sale of marijuana illegal, “and state law,” including the voter-approved medical- and recreational marijuana legalization amendments Colorado voter made to the state constitution, Santos said on Friday.

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