For the first time since marijuana became legalized statewide, Broomfield is taking its first steps to allow a weed-related industry to open their doors.
Broomfield City council voiced support of an ordinance that will impose a four-year ban on retail, grow operations and marijuana product manufacturing at it’s Tuesday council meeting..
The ordinance, which could be accepted after a second reading and public hearing Sept. 13, would allow testing facilities after the current ban expires January 31, 2017.
The vote came after Broomfield residents voiced disapproval for marijuana in general and argued that sales tax wasn’t incentive enough to change their way of life.
Corrie Groesbeck, who has been a Broomfield resident for five years, said she was drawn in part by the county’s family-friendly community.
“I believe Broomfield is a great place to live, work and play and we want to keep it that way,” she said. “We need to send a clear message that marijuana use is harmful and the revenue is not worth the cost to our community.”
Henny Lasley, a founding member of the citizen-led group Smart CO, passed out handouts with statistics about pot potency and statistics on youth use of marijuana.
“It would be great to have a permanent ban, but I understand it’s not on the agenda,” Lasley said.
Others in favor of a complete ban cited marijuana in school as a reason and asked council to not make pot more accessible to children by passing this ordinance. Some arguments centered on conflicting state and federal laws and beliefs that law enforcement would be burdened by an increase in crime.
Mayor Pro Tem Greg Stokes declined making statements on marijuana and instead focused on the process council took to arrive at their proposition.
What was on the agenda does not represent one set of beliefs, he said, but was a product of months of discussion and ultimately compromise.
“We have something here we are ready to vote on that we think represents the numerous different opinions that are going on in Broomfield,” Stokes said. “We view it as a compromise that allows us to continue to study what’s going on at the state level and see what other communities around us are dealing with as they have done their regulation.”
Some residents expressed to council that they wanted the entire matter to be placed on the November ballot – something that could still happen if a community group gathers enough petition signatures in favor of the move.
If a lab does apply for a permit, it would not have to go through council for approval.
Councilman Mike Shelton believes attitudes are changing, but doesn’t know how much.
“Sending this issue to the ballot is something I’d like to do eventually,” he said, but “I don’t know when the right time is.”
He and other council members remarked that the industry up for approval was not retail, which most negative comments addressed, but for testing facilities that check potency.
Remarks about children having more access to marijuana are “unfounded,” he said, and that there is a benefit to testing facilities because they only increase safety for all who use the drug.
Councilwomen Elizabeth Law-Evans and Bette Erickson supported the measure, but both made it clear they would have preferred a permanent ban.
“I wish there better solution to helping the kids of Broomfield understand there are dangers out there, maybe not for absolutely every kid who tries it but certainly for a large subset of every kid who tries it,” she said.
Law-Evans said she would like to see if there was something council could do from a legislative perspective to “educate, inform and protect” children in Broomfield.
“The last thing anyone on this council wants to do is harm a child, but we’re continuing the ban on retail,” Councilman Sam Taylor said.
He agreed with some residents that edibles, such as candy, shouldn’t have been legalized in the first place, but echoed Shelton’s comments about testing facilities testing for potency.
“What testing facilities do is they make this product a little safer and give us knowledge about what’s in there,” he said.
News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Council Moves To Allow Pot-Testing Businesses In Broomfield
Author: Jennifer Rios
Contact: (303) 448-9898
Photo Credit: Sarah Voisin
Website: Broomfield Enterprise