The Frisco Town Council approved a temporary ban on issuing permits to recreational marijuana businesses in town. The motion passed unanimously, with councilmembers Tom Connolly and Kathleen Kennedy absent.
The council will wait until the state adopts Amendment 64 regulations before moving ahead, Frisco town manager Bill Efting said.
"One of the reasons behind it is, until the state decides on what is going to be legal and what is not, I think we'd rather err on being cautious," he said.
The recently convened Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force, a statewide panel tasked with helping lawmakers implement regulations on the sale of recreational marijuana, is expected to issue its recommendations in February. If the state fails to adopt regulations by July 1, or doesn't begin accepting applications for marijuana establishments by Oct. 1, regulatory authority rolls down to local governments.
The moratorium in Frisco ensures that the town will not issue any such permits up to Oct. 1. If the state has not made any steps by that date, the council will be able to vote to extend the moratorium.
"The idea behind it is just wait and see what the state comes up with and not get in the situation where we have conflicting businesses or under the obligation to provide a license without any real direction from the state how those licenses should be maintained," said Frisco Mayor Gary Wilkinson.
Essentially, the moratorium gives Frisco some breathing room while the state makes decisions, said Councilman Kent Willis. The benefit, he said, "is to have better control over how we regulate it in the future. Because it's such a new and different thing, we really need those state regulations first. ... The state needs to take the lead on this and we need to have the time ... so we don't have to be creating that and second-guessing what they're doing."
Efting said Frisco has not received any permit requests for recreational marijuana businesses since Amendment 64 was approved in November. Additionally, the proposed moratorium will not affect the town's existing medical marijuana dispensaries, Efting said.
Under the amendment, towns can craft ordinances that prohibit or regulate marijuana-related businesses.
Others towns, including Vail and Fruita, are taking a similar wait-and-see approach and have already instituted temporary bans.