Pitkin County adopts two emergency pot amendments

Michael McLaughlin
The Aspen Times

The Pitkin Board of County Commissioners adopted an emergency marijuana ordinance and emergency resolution to the county’s existing licensing regulations Tuesday at the request of several caucuses.

The emergency ordinance concerns the Crystal River caucus, which requested to amend that recreational marijuana licenses not be issued within its caucus area. The emergency resolution amends the county’s medical marijuana licensing regulations to include the Emma and Woody Creek caucus recommendations not to have any medical marijuana licenses issued in their respective caucus areas.

By designating the ordinance and resolution as “emergency,” both will go into effect immediately due to the concern for public safety. Both actions still have to be confirmed at a public hearing, scheduled for May 28, where public comment also will be allowed.

Both resolutions will last until Feb. 12, 2015, when the county will reconsider all the caucuses’ recommendations. The county already has issued a recreational license in the Crystal River caucus area and will allow that license to stand.

The commissioners approved the Crystal River request by a 4-0 approval, with Commissioner Michael Owsley not present. The commissioners approved the resolution for the Emma and Woody Creek caucuses by a 3-1 vote, with Commissioner Steve Child the lone opposing vote.

Ron Radtke, the owner of the Green Dragon Cannabis Co., is leasing the property at 2520 Lower River Road, which is in the Woody Creek caucus area.

Radtke’s plans to develop the Lower River Road property were denied by the county at a meeting on Feb. 11.

Radtke says he spent around $50,000 on land use he claims the county says was acceptable, which includes paying for design plans to build several greenhouses and upgrades to the property.

“There were never any guarantees to use that property as a grow site,” County Commissioner George Newman said. “They had a state license but were never issued a license from the county.”

Radtke would like to be refunded the money he invested in the property prior to having the commissioners adopt the Woody Creek caucus recommendation not to allow any recreational or medical marijuana licensing in their coverage area.

Lauren Maytin, an attorney representing Radtke, wasn’t happy with the route the commissioners have decided to follow concerning adopting the caucus recommendations. She contends that Radtke had put in his license application to the county before any caucus recommendations were brought forward.

“The board mentioned that this was rooted in the land-use process,” Maytin said. “The land-use process, as we all know, has a state mandate that the law that is in place at the time an application is submitted is the law the application is required to be reviewed under. Pitkin County has changed the rules. They are doing so arbitrarily and capriciously.”