Pitkin County approves marijuana rules
June 28, 2012
ASPEN – Licensing procedures for medical marijuana businesses in unincorporated Pitkin County won final approval Wednesday on a 2-1 vote by county commissioners.
The measures have been the source of two split votes; they passed on first reading earlier this month by a 3-2 vote, with Commissioners Michael Owsley and George Newman dissenting. They argued that the issuance of a license should be done through a public hearing before commissioners, not administratively by the county manager, as the adopted regulations dictate.
On Wednesday, with Newman and Commissioner Rob Ittner absent, the licensing regulations passed with the support of Commissioners Jack Hatfield and Rachel Richards. Owsley, voting in opposition, again voiced his preference for a public review of license applications and said he couldn’t get past the contradiction between state law, which allows the production, sale and use of medical marijuana, and federal law, which prohibits it.
“The degree where you have to adjust your logic to support this – I’m just not capable,” he said.
“If the federal government wanted to come in here and shut us down, it would have done so already,” said local attorney Lauren Maytin, indicating that she represents most of the medical marijuana businesses in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. Maytin was the only member of the public who spoke during Wednesday’s public hearing on the county regulations.
Previously, commissioners agreed to limit medical marijuana businesses in accordance with the wishes of neighborhood caucuses. That means no marijuana enterprises of any kind will be allowed in the portion of the Fryingpan Valley in unincorporated Pitkin County, no growing operations will be permitted in the Snowmass/Capitol Creek area, and no dispensaries will appear on Redstone Boulevard. Dispensaries will be allowed only in the B-2 zone district, which is the Aspen Business Center, but an existing business in Holland Hills will be allowed to continue.
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The limitations aren’t expected to affect the handful of medical marijuana operations that currently exist in the unincorporated areas of the county.