DENVER-The eyes of the marijuana industry are upon Denver.
Already the capital of Colorado's medical marijuana industry, ensuring that legal sales of recreational pot will be allowed in Denver is viewed by pro-marijuana advocates as a crucial step.
Amendment 64 passed handily in Denver, so it was no surprise when the council informally voted to opt in to legal sales Monday.
The council voted 10-1 to pursue local regulation of the recreational pot industry.
"I want us to be in the driver's seat. I want us to be showing the state and the rest of the country how this is done right," Councilman Chris Nevitt said.
Not all of his fellow yes votes were so gung-ho.
Most council members expressed reservations about the potential societal costs of legal pot.
Jeanne Faatz was the only council member voting to opt out, saying the state isn't ready to regulate it properly.
She pointed to shortcomings in the regulation of the medical marijuana industry.
"I've heard promises for four years," Faatz said. "What I haven't seen is performance. As a result, seed-to-sale, which we were promised tight regulation, is a fiction."
The council began working on an ordinance to regulate recreational pot, featuring more restrictive measures than state law.
Rather than a 9-month window next year, the draft ordinance would not allow new businesses to enter the marketplace until 2016. Until then, only existing medical dispensaries with proper licenses would be allowed to sell the drug for recreational use.
The ordinance would allow a store to sell the drug for medical and non-medical purposes in one location.
The council is also expected to consider ordinances to add local taxes on the drug and to revamp the city's criminal laws.
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