Photo/flickr, Creative Commons, Brett Levin, LEGAL Colorado marijuana grow

Photo/flickr, Creative Commons, Brett Levin, LEGAL Colorado marijuana grow

The Petersburg Borough assembly has started the process of adopting a marijuana ordinance, following what the state has already established. During its last regular meeting the assembly approved the ordinance in its first reading.

The marijuana ordinance would allow pot smoking on site of a license facility unless the assembly makes changes, says Borough manager Steve Giesbrecht.

“So, unless you change that, if somebody opens up a retail location they can smoke, again, as long as it follows state law,” Giesbrecht said.

The assembly would also have to modify the Clean Air Act which bans smoking indoors.

The ordinance, following state statute, would limit the amount of marijuana that a person could purchase and use on site.

There is only one person in Petersburg who has applied for a marijuana business license so far. That’s Susie Burrell, owner of the Fishermen’s Net Café and Gift Shop.

But Mayor Mark Jensen says maybe others in the community would come forward if they had more information.

Assemblyman Eric Castro spoke along the same lines saying he supported passing an ordinance so that local residents interested in pursuing a marijuana business would have more information to work with.

“I see no reason to hold back the adoption of this ordinance,” Castro said. “And I feel that if we are able to open it up and maybe it would give more options to those business people in order to create a business plan.”

Assembly members stressed that they have a lot to consider in the future and this is just the first step.

Mayor Jensen asked the public to get involved in the process.

“This is the first reading and it’s probably going to open up the discussion and public comments, and the next meeting we’ll have the public hearing on it,” Jensen said. “I hope people will come and voice their opinions so it’s not seven people making up the decision.”

The first reading of the ordinance passed with a unanimous vote.

Under state regulations, pot businesses have to be 500 feet from schools, rec centers, churches and jails, leaving only a few sites in the downtown area as a possibility.

The state’s Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office has a map on its website with the applications for licenses that are under consideration.