It was a decision months in the making, but the Windsor Town Board on Monday formally slammed the door shut to the developing recreational pot industry.
The board occasionally sparred during its discussion and public comment portion of the meeting but passed on second reading three measures banning retail marijuana shops and distribution centers, large-scale marijuana grow operations, and so-called private pot clubs.
"To me, the bigger challenge is making sure that we somehow protect our image �-- our corridors," Mayor John Vazquez said, speaking in support of the trio of ordinances while citing the community's wishes after trudging through previous elections. "I don't know if there is a silver bullet that solves everything. The way our Main Street looks says a lot about our values as a community."
The most controversial ordinance hinged on whether the town should prohibit marijuana clubs, which are often-cited gray areas that blur the line between public and private consumption. Ultimately board members Myles Baker and Jeremy Rose voted against the measure.
"I'm going to continue to support the right of people to engage in private activities," Rose said. He cautioned that distinguishing "primary" and "secondary" pot use within someone's business only stands to become a legal mess and was loaded with loopholes that wouldn't hold up in court. Though private consumption by people 21 years or older cannot be restricted under Amendment 64, communities across the state have wrestled with how best to handle clubs that straddle the public line.
Only three members of the audience spoke during the public comment portions of the meeting, and only one spoke against the proposed ordinances.
Monday's decision was the final nail in the coffin of a lengthy series of discussions dating to January when the board outlined a plan to temporarily ban the industry. When that emergency measure failed in a surprise decision, the board and staff crafted a series of ordinances and carefully decided when and how the matter should be discussed, ensuring each board member was present for the final vote.
Communities across the state have until Oct. 1 to decide whether they want to be a part of the retail side of recreational marijuana. Meanwhile, the Colorado Legislature has the remainder of its session -- until May 8 -- to act on a series of policies outlining just how the new industry will work within the state.
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