The Pitkin Board of County Commissioners approved an ordinance adopting recreational marijuana licensing regulations for Pitkin County and may have cleared the way for Jordan Lewis to begin selling recreational marijuana in Aspen.
It took the board several months of creating the regulations and several more months to tweak them until the Wednesday meeting, when the board approved the new regulations by a vote of 4-1, with Commissioner George Newman casting the lone “no” vote.
For Lewis, the adoption of the regulations and an optional premise that was added Wednesday could clear the way for his business, Silverpeak Apothecary, to begin selling recreational marijuana before the end of the month.
Lewis sent an email to the commissioners asking that they consider modifying the language that restricts the co-location of a cultivation license with a manufactured infused-products license.
Lewis currently has a cultivation farm in Redstone where he also has a license to manufacture marijuana-infused products. Lewis pointed out that the extraction method he uses utilizes a recyclable carbon dioxide process that is organic and has no byproducts other than processed leaf material.
The process only requires an estimated 100 square feet of space and produces no odors or fumes.
Keeping the cultivation license separate from other marijuana licenses would force Lewis to find a different facility and ship literally hundreds of pounds per year of raw material to be processed at another location.
Lewis was hoping the board would adopt language for co-location of such activities, which they left as an option to determine on a case-by-case basis.
“This is the trifecta I’ve been waiting for,” Lewis said. “We have the state, the city and now the county, so we’re pending some tags through the MIT (marijuana inventory tracking) system. As soon as we get those, we are planning to move forward and open up (for recreational sales in Aspen).”
When asked exactly when Silverpeak Apothecary would begin selling recreational marijuana, Lewis couldn’t nail down a specific date yet.
“Right now it depends on when we receive the MIT tags so we can ship product into the shop,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll be selling retail before the end of the month. I can say confidently that’s well within reason.”
Lewis said he was very happy with the board for taking the time it needed to discuss all the issues.
“I think (the board) gave everyone in the community a chance to express their concerns,” Lewis said. “I think it was a thoughtful process, and the end result is one the community as a whole can be happy with.”
The recreational marijuana regulations were approved as they were presented with several amendments that will be added to the final draft.
The amendments to the regulations are to add the Woody Creek caucus to the list of caucuses whose recommendations are accepted and adopted for a period of one year concerning their ability to opt out of having marijuana facilities in their caucus areas. The licensing fees in Pitkin County will be lowered from $5,000 to $3,000, with yearly renewal fees set at $1,500.
There was also training language added concerning employees at recreational marijuana outlets as well as making employees able and available to help customers with choosing the products and help with any customer concerns.
The board also officially adopted a moratorium on the issuance of any new medical marijuana licenses that will expire on June 7. The moratorium allows time for the county to introduce new medical regulations that should now dovetail as much as possible with the new recreational regulations. The new medical marijuana regulations also should give more control of the application process to the board and provide for public notification and hearings, which the current medical regulations do not.