Castle Pines says no to pot facilities

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He's always looking for a way to increase city revenues, but never this way, Castle Pines Councilmember Marc Town said after the council voted unanimously on second reading June 11 to ban commercial marijuana operations in the city.

“You never want to bring in revenue that's going to negatively impact your community,” he said.

The city's new ordinance prohibits marijuana cultivation facilities, testing and product manufacturing facilities, and retail marijuana stores.

Towne said in a recent interview that residents understand there are tax dollars in marijuana sales, but Castle Pines, like many other Douglas County communities, “is a very conservative community, very family oriented.”

Marijuana being a drug, Castle Pines doesn't see commercial marijuana businesses “being conducive to the family and community environment that has been in place for many years,” Towne said.

Towne said in communities such as Colorado Springs, which he visits often, there are quite a few marijuana dispensaries.

“The folks that are in front of those dispensaries are not Castle Pines clientele,” he said. “You see a lot of folks that are obviously abusing. ... Those are the folks that are taking advantage.”

Towne said Castle Pines may have residents who seek marijuana for medical treatment. The council is “sensitive to their needs,” but what they need can be bought outside of Castle Pines, Towne said.

Colorado's Amendment 64, which voters passed last year legalizing recreational marijuana use, includes a provision allowing local jurisdictions to prohibit commercial marijuana facilities. And communities in Douglas County have been using it.

Douglas County was the state's first county to impose a commercial ban, and Castle Rock, Lone Tree, Parker and now Castle Pines have followed suit. Larkspur has imposed a moratorium until 2014, waiting to see what rules and regulations the state imposes before taking further action, Larkspur Town Manager Matt Krimmer said recently.

Towne also said it was a safety issue for his community.

He said marijuana is a high-cash business and items within those businesses have a very high value — and that increases the odds for outside burglaries.

Mayor Jeffrey Huff said his vote reflected local sentiment on Amendment 64, which the “majority in Douglas County voted against.”

Towne said when the council votes, 90 percent of the voting ratio is based on feedback from the town's constituency.

“It was pretty unanimous through the community,” he said.

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