Douglas County, Castle Rock ponder next move on legal marijuana

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In the wake of Colorado voters' approval of legalized marijuana, Douglas County and Castle Rock leaders are awaiting direction from the Colorado Municipal League and Colorado Counties Inc.

The amendment allows local jurisdictions to ban retail sales. If the summary from the municipal league, combined with the county's history with medical marijuana, are any indication, those in favor of the amendment could be in for a disappointment if they are hoping for a pot shop anytime soon.

The municipal league issued a summary analysis of the amendment to its members the day after the election. The league reported retail stores will be allowed to sell marijuana in a system of licensed establishments regulated by the state and local governments.

While Amendment 64 does not change existing medical marijuana laws, local governments may choose to prohibit or license retail marijuana operations, the league says.

How each municipality has opted to address medical marijuana does not dictate how the municipality will or should address retail marijuana, according to the municipal league.

The Town of Castle Rock in 2010 opted to ban medical marijuana.

“At this time, (the town) is creating an internal team that will work closely with Colorado Municipal League regarding Amendment 64,” said Karen McGrath, community relations creative services supervisor.

CCI changed the schedule for its winter conference in response to the election to ensure county leaders gained some insight on the amendment, said Wendy Holmes, Douglas County director of public affairs.

In the 2010 general election, Douglas County residents voted 61-39 to prohibit medical marijuana within unincorporated Douglas County, which includes Highlands Ranch.

“We are assembling all available resources to ensure that we fully understand Amendment 64 and its impact on local government, including issues of local control,” said District 1 Commissioner Jack Hilbert. “While it passed statewide, Amendment 64 failed in Douglas County and we will keep that in mind as we evaluate next steps.”

Douglas County election results for Amendment 64

Yes — 45 percent

No — 55 percent

Colorado election results for Amendment 64

Yes — 55 percent

No — 45 percent