Commissioners to codify caucus feelings on pot | AspenTimes.com

Commissioners to codify caucus feelings on pot

Pitkin County commissioners took the first step Wednesday toward officially incorporating into law the differing views on marijuana represented by each caucus in the county.

With the exception of the Snowmass-Capitol Creek Caucus, each caucus has until July 15 to inform county officials whether it wants to allow retail or medical marijuana stores, grow operations and edibles-production facilities in its respective area.

After July 15, those individual neighborhood views will be incorporated into an ordinance codifying those stances, commissioners decided.

The Snowmass-Capitol Creek Caucus was excluded at the suggestion of Commissioner Steve Child because members already said they would allow marijuana grow operations under a special review, but not retail or edibles-production facilities. The prohibition against issuing marijuana licenses in that area expires today.

In February 2015 — when the state law legalizing marijuana was new and its effects uncertain — the county board consulted each caucus and decided to prohibit issuing marijuana licenses in the Woody Creek, Emma, Snowmass-Capitol Creek and Fryingpan caucuses for three years. Also included was a prohibition against issuing licenses for retail marijuana stores in Redstone, which is part of the Crystal River Caucus, according to a county memo by BOCC Secretary Jeanette Jones.

Those prohibitions were slated to expire today.

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A year ago, County Attorney John Ely wrote to the caucuses again notifying them of the expiration date, though only the Woody Creek Caucus responded, according to the memo. Jones then reached out to the other caucuses again last month and received more responses.

Woody Creek, Emma and the Upper Snowmass Creek caucuses all wanted to continue the prohibitions that are specified in their respective master plans, the memo states. Snowmass-Capitol Creek decided cultivation with a special review was acceptable, while the Crystal River Caucus wanted to again query members next month on the subject, the memo states.

Caucuses representing the Frying Pan Valley, East of Aspen, Castle/Maroon Creek and Maroon Creek did not respond to the county, according to the memo.

On Wednesday, commissioners decided to extend the prohibitions in all those areas except Snowmass-Capitol Creek until July 15.

The prohibitions are meant to help prospective applicants for a license understand the prevailing feelings toward marijuana in a particular area, and stop them from spending money on an application that would most likely be denied, Ely said. It also saves the caucuses and the county time that might be spent on an application that would be moot from the beginning, he said.

jauslander@aspentimes.com