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Larimer County sheriff, DA to talk legal marijuana

6:25 PM, Jan 13, 2013   |    comments
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Sheriff Justin Smith and District Attorney Cliff Riedel are expected to share their perspectives about what the passage of Amendment 64 legalizing recreational marijuana in Colorado will mean for enforcement.

"I think we're going to hear some of the nuts and bolts of how these individual public officials are going to deal with marijuana enforcement," said County Commissioner Tom Donnelly.

Commissioner Lew Gaiter said the law enforcement perspective is one of several that will help shape the county's course for managing marijuana businesses. Gaiter said he would favor delaying the opening of any commercial marijuana businesses in Larimer County until the state's laws and regulations have conformed to accommodate legal marijuana.

"Based on everything I've learned to date, I think a likely thing that will happen is what I would characterize as a temporary ban or a temporary moratorium, simply so we can put the brakes on everything while we figure out what the state rules are going to be so we can decide what our county rules are going to be," Gaiter said.

He was careful to point out that his advocacy for a slowdown on allowing marijuana businesses does not necessarily mean he would support a permanent ban on them in unincorporated Larimer County. Gaiter serves on a local government working group of the state task force grappling with implementation of Amendment 64, and he said it has been educational.

He cited the remarks of a marijuana-legalization proponent on the working group to underscore the importance of balanced, reasonable regulations.

Being too restrictive could also have consequences, according to Gaiter.

"If this fails, then we've created the biggest black market in the state of Colorado," he said.

The commissioners expect to hold meetings in the future about land use and other issues associated with Amendment 64.

Written by Patrick Malone

(Copyright © 2013 Fort Collins Coloradoan, All Rights Reserved)

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