Issues arise as City Council looks at new state law
Greg Goldfogel is trying to do everything possible to legally manufacture marijuana-infused products under city and state law.
The Denver restaurateur has until the end of the month to turn in his license application to the city to remain a legal “infused products manufacturer.” There’s only one problem; the city doesn’t have an application for infused products manufacturers, yet he would be operating illegally starting July 1 if he doesn’t turn in the non-existent application.
“We take this very seriously as people who not only want to operate in the city of DenverÉbut we want to do it completely legally,” said Goldfogel, who got into the medical marijuana business after his restaurant, Alto, shut down because of the recession. “Basically I’m in a Catch-22.”
Denver City Council yesterday began the process of trying to rectify House Bill 1284, the comprehensive medical marijuana bill signed into law this month, with the medical marijuana regulation ordinance they passed at the beginning of the year. There are numerous differences between the city and state law, ranging from who can operate a medical marijuana center to where the centers can be located.
And while Denver City Council has plenty of time to work out most of the kinks between state and local laws, they likely have less than two weeks to figure out what to do about the infused products manufacturers who must turn in an application that doesn’t exist by July 1.
For his part, Denver Assistant City Attorney David Broadwell acknowledged the problem facing people like Goldfogel, though he offered no easy answers. Denver City Councilman Chris Nevitt suggested that city council could quickly write a piece of regulation that would give some safe harbor to those manufacturers trying to file the proper paperwork and operate legally. But Broadwell doubted that city action would do any good since it’s state law, which trumps city law, requiring the July 1 deadline.
Yesterday’s safety committee kicked off the long and involved process that will see Denver City Council trying to implement HB 1284 into city law.
HB 1284 differentiates between medical marijuana centers and caregivers, who are protected by the constitution under Amendment 20. City law is based on the assumption that caregivers and centers are the same. Other notable differences between city and state law that city council must eventually address are:
Ą Location of grow operations Ń HB 1284 allows marijuana to be grown at a second location outside of the center, while city ordinance requires the marijuana to be grown on site or adjacent to the center;
Ą Location of centers Ń City ordinance requires dispensaries to be 1,000 feet from another center, which HB 1284 doesn’t address. However, HB 1284 requires centers to be located far away from drug treatment facilities and college campuses, which city ordinance doesn’t address;
Ą Licensee requirements Ń HB 1284 places more limitations on who can operate a center, including requiring owners to be a Colorado residents for several years;
HB 1284 allows Denver City Council to choose whether they want to follow state law with the location of grow operations, centers, and requirements for licensees. But city council has no say on the July 1 application deadline. “The industry already understands that it’s going to be operating in somewhat in a gray area for some time,” said Nevitt, who later added, “This will always be gray, but lets make it as white as possible.”
Gene Davis, DDN Staff Writer
Thursday, June 17, 2010
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