Carbondale sets fees for medical marijuana centers |

Carbondale sets fees for medical marijuana centers

John StroudPost IndependentAspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE – The Carbondale Board of Trustees has approved the first of a series of planned ordinances aimed at regulating medical marijuana businesses locally.The board, at its Tuesday night meeting, established a process to issue business licenses and impose related fees on medical marijuana centers in Carbondale.A separate fee will also set up a fund to educate youth about medical marijuana and its purpose, and that the drug remains illegal to buy, possess or sell when it involves anyone who is not authorized by the state of Colorado to use it for a qualifying medical condition.Carbondale, now home to about a dozen dispensaries, has imposed a moratorium on any new medical marijuana facilities through the end of this year.It extends an existing state moratorium by an extra six months, so the town can work to establish local controls related to dispensaries, commercial growing operations, infused products manufacturing, and smaller-scale patient or caregiver growers.Under the new licensing ordinance approved on a 4-2 vote Tuesday, applications for medical marijuana centers, or any transfer of licenses, will be subject to a $1,000 fee, plus a $500 annual renewal.All new license applications will also be analyzed by the town board to determine if the needs of the community are already being served by existing facilities, similar to a retail liquor license permit.Associated facilities by the same applicant will cost $500, and a $100 fee will be charged anytime there’s a managerial or ownership change, or a modification of the premises requiring a building permit.The local fees are in addition to state licensing fees. The town’s qualifications for who can own and operate a medical marijuana center mirror those spelled out in state regulations imposed last year.Trustees also agreed to set a 1,000-foot separation between dispensaries and schools, including preschools, licensed daycare homes and Carbondale’s Colorado Mountain College center. The board had earlier considered a 500-foot limit.Trustee Pam Zentmyer said she spoke with the principals of several Carbondale schools, and all agreed that 1,000 feet would be preferable, she said.The spacing limit is also addressed in a follow-up zoning ordinance establishing which zone districts dispensaries may locate in. That ordinance is before the Carbondale Planning and Zoning Commission at a meeting Thursday. The P&Z will make a recommendation to the Town Board on the zoning ordinance.A second ordinance adopted unanimously by trustees Tuesday sets a separate “education and enforcement fee,” meant to help offset the potential adverse impacts on youth in the community due to the growing and sale of medical marijuana in the town.In addition to the business license fee, medical marijuana facilities must also pay an annual $1,000 fee.”Youth are particularly vulnerable to the mixed messages and are known to make bad judgments when considering the use and possession of marijuana, alcohol and other drugs,” the ordinance notes.”The town wishes to address this adverse effect by promoting and funding educational programs and additional enforcement activities, which it believes necessary to safeguard the public health, welfare and safety,” it


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