Summit County extends pot moratorium |

Summit County extends pot moratorium

Caddie Nath
Summit Daily News
Aspen, CO Colorado

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. – The Summit Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to extend a moratorium on medical marijuana businesses, including retail centers and grow operations, through July.

County officials have extended the now two-year-old moratorium several times, waiting for clear and stable state regulations to be put in place to frame local regulations.

But the county commissioners are done waiting.

“We keep having a moratorium because we’re waiting for the state to make rules and they keep punting,” assistant county manager Thad Noll said. “We’re going to make rules (by July) whether the state does or not.”

County commissioners are set to begin discussing rules and policies for the sale of medical marijuana in unincorporated Summit County at their Feb. 7 work session.

There hasn’t been an application for a medical marijuana business in the county in more than a year.

That may be because, from a business perspective, there aren’t many viable locations in the unincorporated county for a storefront. The resorts won’t allow centers in their base areas, and federal and state laws rule out Farmer’s Korner, which is within 1,000 feet of the high school, according to those in the industry.

But medical marijuana retailers see opportunities for grow operations in unincorporated parts of the county, where more space is available and can be more affordable.

“It would be cheaper and it would be easier,” Medical Marijuana of the Rockies owner Jerry Olson. “I would definitely like to see an opportunity for people within the county to cultivate marijuana outside of the towns. It would make sense to take advantage of our agricultural land for agricultural purposes.”

State law requires medical marijuana centers to grow a portion of the product they sell. Many Frisco and Breckenridge retailers grow the marijuana they sell on site or elsewhere in town.

Residential and commercial grow operations are banned in unincorporated Summit County.

“We haven’t told people where they can grow,” Noll said. “You can’t grow in your home because it’s not conducive to a residential neighborhood to have a giant grow operation next door.”

Breckenridge, Frisco and Silverthorne allow the operation of medical marijuana retail centers. Breckenridge has capped the number of businesses allowed, and both Breck and Frisco charge an excise tax on the sale of medical marijuana.

Marijuana supporters turned in 160,000 signatures last week in support of a statewide ballot initiative that would amend the Colorado Constitution to allow people over age 21 to posses up to 1 ounce of marijuana and to grow up to six plants in their homes.

The secretary of state’s office has to determine that approximately 86,000 of the signatures submitted are valid for the legalization question to appear on the ballot in November.

A second legalization proposal, which would not limit the amount of recreational marijuana adults could posses was released Wednesday. Proponents of the new initiative have not begun collecting signatures yet.

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