Marijuana ordinance to make Nederland first U.S. city to regulate pot since its prohibition?
The Amendment 64 Shadow Task Force is made up of activists monitoring a governor-appointed group charged with making recommendations about the implementation of A64, which allows adults 21 and over to possess small amounts of marijuana. Now, the shadow task force is trying to beat the state to the punch via an ordinance that would make Nederland "the first town in America to regulate marijuana since it's prohibition some 76 years ago."
Key members of the shadow task force include Kathleen Chippi and Rico Colibri. They're driving forces behind the aforementioned document, entitled the "Marijuana Establishment Regulation Ordinance."
The act can be found in its entirety below, but here's an excerpt from the "Findings" section that describes the shadow task force's interpretation of Amendment 64:
On November 6, 2012, the voters of the State of Colorado approved Amendment 64. Amendment 64 added section 16 of article 18 to the Colorado Constitution and created a limited exception from criminal liability under Colorado law for adults 21 and over to possess and cultivate marijuana for recreational use and to establish the licensing and regulation of marijuana establishments in a manner like alcohol as described in Amendment 64.More than two years earlier, on April 6, 2010, the Town of Nederland approved its own marijuana-related measure: Ballot Issue 1, which, according to the ordinance, "removed municipal penalties related to buying, selling, possessing, consuming, transporting, cultivating, manufacturing and dispensing marijuana and its concentrate and related paraphernalia among persons 21 year of age and older."
The intent of Amendment 64 was to enable adults 21 and over and licensed marijuana establishments who comply with the provisions of section 16 or article 18 of the Colorado Constitution to legally obtain, purchase, possess, cultivate, grow, use, distribute, sell and display marijuana like alcohol without fear of criminal prosecution under Colorado law.
The ordinance contends that A64 gives Nederland the right to regulate marijuana-related establishments. But why not wait until the entire state has done so? The ordinance argues that to delay action until statewide laws are blessed (a process expected to take much of this year and perhaps stretch into 2014, with or without federal intervention) would be to empower criminals and endanger the citizenry as a whole, as explained in another segment of the "Findings" section:
If marijuana establishments pursuant to section 16 of article 18 of the Colorado Constitution were not allowed to operate before October 1, 2013, Colorado marijuana consumers who wish to obtain marijuana would have no option but to purchase from the black market, bolstering the profits of criminal organizations, increasing criminal activities and endangering otherwise law-abiding citizens. To allow recreation use of marijuana without providing a lawful source to purchase marijuana is detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare.
Marijuana regulations at the state level have yet to be adopted, but given the threat to public health and safety, the town of Nederland is enacting regulations to combat the illegal trafficking of marijuana. The majority of Coloradans voted to regulate marijuana like alcohol, and as such, the Town of Nederland will regulate marijuana establishments in a manner similar to alcohol.
Chippi elaborates on this statement in an e-mail. "After watching the task force and a handful of elected officials undermine the vote of 1.3 million Coloradans who voted for A64," she writes, "the residents of Nederland decided the way to implement the will of the voters under the new Constitutional amendment was to run a local initiative and set an example for the rest of the state."
The next step for proponents is to collect 420 signatures from registered voters in Nederland and submit them to the town's board of trustees. Afterward, backers hope the board will take up the ordinance and pass it within thirty days after the signatures were verified.
Doing so would obviously be a bold step. But as indicated by the passage of a measure eliminating municipal marijuana-related penalties more than two years before voters approved A64, Nederland is a community known for going its own way. Or, as the Amendment 64 Shadow Task Force puts it: "Move over Netherlands, here comes Nederland."
Continue to see the complete ordinance and an A64 Shadow Task Force news release.