Boulder city staff members today will introduce proposed rules to govern the recreational cannabis industry.
The proposed ordinances include a contentious cap that would prevent Boulder businesses from growing more than 1,000 plants at a time. The proposed rules would also halt the city’s acceptance of new cannabusiness applications between March 1, 2014 and Sept. 30, 2014. City officials propose they start accepting applications for new dispensaries and recreational outlets beginning Oct. 1, 2014. Additionally, the city will propose widening the allowable distance between pot shops and schools.
The proposed ordinances are intended to bring Boulder into compliance with Colorado’s Amendment 64, city officials said. About 75 percent of Boulder voters were in favor of the ballot measure.
Although Assistant City Attorney Kathy Haddock said the city is using the medical marijuana rules as a guide, the 1,000-plant limit for facilities growing cannabis for recreational use differs from existing medical marijuana guidelines. Grows that provide medical marijuana currently are limited by the number of patients a dispensary serves.
Haddock said the newly proposed limit reflects the city’s intention to keep enforcement costs down and monitor recreational grows with a single police officer.
“If a place has thousands of plants in it, it’s hard to go through and count them,” Haddock said.
However, many in the industry believe the new rule will make it difficult for recreational marijuana outlets to meet demand in Boulder.
Shawn Coleman, a consultant who works on behalf of the cannabis industry, is against the 1,000-plant limit, saying the state never set such a limit. He said the limit would put Boulder retail outlets at a competitive disadvantage as well as create the need for more grows, which would run counter to the city’s goal of keeping marijuana businesses from monopolizing city commercial space.
The proposed ordinances are scheduled to be open to public hearings Sept. 17.