DILLON - Trying to figure out how to handle medical marijuana dispensaries isn't getting any easier for Colorado municipalities. Still unsure about how it wants to proceed with regulations for the businesses, the Town of Dillon is likely extending its moratorium until the end of the year. The town has already extended its 90-day moratorium once, and it currently would expire on Feb. 13. The second moratorium extension will probably be brought to council as an emergency ordinance at the Feb. 2 town meeting. If approved, it will go into effect immediately.
Town manager Devin Granbery said the moratorium extension should give them an adequate amount of time to decide what its stance will be on dispensaries - throughout 2010, council and staff will be able to see if and what the state Legislature decides regarding regulations, and if any other information regarding litigation comes to light.
"This issue is muddier now than it ever has been," Granbery said.
According to town attorney Mark Shapiro, a number of towns who previously said no to allowing dispensaries are now entering moratoriums in response to litigation over medical marijuana in Centennial. The Denver Post writes that an Arapahoe County judge barred the city of Centennial from shutting down a medical marijuana dispensary at the end of 2009 - the judge said the Centennial government had no right to use federal law as a pretext for doing so.
"It's an ever-changing landscape," Shapiro said, who also stated that he wouldn't be surprised if nothing came from the state Legislature on regulations this session.
Council members unanimously supported extending the moratorium through 2010, though they're also aware a moratorium cannot be extended indefinitely. Granbery told them they could also shorten the moratorium if they determine what their regulating actions will be before the year concludes.
For now, Dillon's council and staff are prepared to watch and wait.
"There's just too much up in the air," said councilman Ron Holland.
The Denver Post contributed to this article. Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.