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Trustees continue pot talks

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By Lynn Burton

Sopris Sun Staff Reporter

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Carbondale trustees are still a few
hits away from putting a fine point on the town’s pot regulations,
but they are starting to take shape.

At Tuesday night’s work session,
trustees indicated they’ll allow retail outlets to cook and sell
products such as marijuana-laced brownies, but to do so will probably
require a special use permit. The town might establish zone-district
“overlays” to determine where retail marijuana stores can and
can’t operate. The trustees decided to measure minimum-allowed
distances from pot shops to schools as the public would travel them,
rather than as the crow flies. The trustees also instructed staff to
draft a memo to address the issue of whether to ask voters to put a 5
percent additional sales tax on legally-sold marijuana.

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The trustees are plowing through those
issues and more, as the state of Colorado prepares to start accepting
retail marijuana outlet license applications on Oct. 1. On Jan. 1,
2014, it will become legal under state law to sell small amounts of
marijuana after Colorado voters approved Amendment 64 last November.
Carbondale voters approved Amendment 64 in all three precincts.

Under Amendment 64, cities, towns and
counties have the option of not allowing retail marijuana outlets.
Unlike some Garfield County town councils, the Carbondale Board of
Trustees spent little time several weeks ago discussing whether to
allow pot shops. Their attention quickly turned to a memo from the
Colorado Municipal League that included 16 points for towns and
counties to consider when drafting marijuana regulations. The points
included: Whether to impose special restrictions on signs and
advertising, whether to mandate public hearings for license
applications and require that applicants address “needs and
desires” of the community in order to obtain a license.

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The trustees are reviewing a 64-page
report from the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana
Enforcement Division titled “Emergency Rules Related to the
Colorado Retail Marijuana Code” and Denver’s proposed marijuana
regulations. They also hired attorney Alison Eastley to assist town
attorney Mark Hamilton in guiding them through the complicated
process.

In other news from Tuesday night’s
work session:

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• The trustees conducted a review
of town manager Jay Harrington and decided to extend to him another
two-year contract with a 5 percent raise;

• Heard a proposal from the
Aspen-based GrassRoots TV that would designate GrassRoots as
Carbondale’s public access provider on Comcast. The trustees took
no action;

• Discussed daycare issues with
several daycare providers.

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