Aspen attorney cries foul over Pitkin County’s medical marijuana resolution
May 30, 2014
The confirmatory reading of an emergency resolution amending Pitkin County's medical marijuana licensing regulations led to some harsh words directed at elected officials on Wednesday.
Attorney Lauren Maytin questioned the validity of the Pitkin County commissioners' use of an emergency resolution and the timing of such a resolution.
Maytin's client, Ron Radtke, had a license issued from the state for an outdoor medical marijuana grow operation within the Woody Creek Caucus area before the county moratorium on medical marijuana was enacted in February. Radtke said he spent roughly $50,000 on fencing, security plans and building designs for the Woody Creek site that he leased on Lower River Road in Pitkin County.
Radtke also said that he relied on the rules that were in place when he submitted his medical marijuana application. The emergency resolution countered what Radtke had done up until February. The commissioners approved the emergency resolution unanimously.
“The Woody Creek and Emma caucuses have been silent for years and medical marijuana has been around since 2000. What’s the emergency now?”
"This action is deceitful and borderline corrupt," Maytin said in a passionate response to the commissioners. "Pinning this action to a pending application? You're not treating this application fairly. You (the board) have no grounds to trigger this emergency ordinance."
The county adopted its medical marijuana licensing regulations in 2012. At that time, the Woody Creek and Emma caucuses had made no formal recommendations concerning marijuana licensing in their areas.
In February, both caucuses requested that all types of marijuana licenses, recreational and medical, not be issued in their caucus areas. The county commissioners accepted the idea of an emergency resolution not only to grant the recommendation of the caucuses but also to align the medical regulations with the current recreational regulations.
On Wednesday, the commissioners unanimously voted to confirm the emergency resolution.
Maytin questioned why the commissioners accepted the caucus recommendations when the board has said all along that a caucus vote is only a recommendation.
"Now it seems they control the board," she said. "The Woody Creek and Emma caucuses have been silent for years and medical marijuana has been around since 2000. What's the emergency now?"
Several of the commissioners replied to Maytin, explaining that marijuana regulations are a new territory for them and the ultimate goal with the emergency resolution was to synchronize the medical and recreational marijuana codes.
Commissioner Michael Owsley has been on the board for 10 years and has never heard anyone call the commissioners corrupt or deceitful at a meeting.
"I understand where she was coming from," he said after the hearing. "She was coming from being an inexperienced attorney."
After the meeting, Maytin was obviously disappointed with the commissioners' decision.
"The truth hurts, and they didn't like it," Maytin said. "They are not being genuine with the applicant. The tail is wagging the dog."