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Draft marijuana regs to be presented to BoCC Tuesday

Staff Writer

The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners is holding a work session next week for the county’s Retail Marijuana Steering Committee to present draft regulations to the board.

The work session is scheduled to be held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 15, in the commissioners’ meeting room in the courthouse.

pdfIconThe draft regulations and appendix span 29 pages and outline how the county could potentially allow for and regulate retail marijuana businesses in unincorporated Archuleta County following the passage of Amendment 64 in 2012.

The draft regulations also include the county’s regulations for medical marijuana establishments. Licensed medical marijuana establishments are currently allowed in unincorporated Archuleta County.

Per the draft regulations, the following types of marijuana businesses could potentially be allowed in the unincorporated county: medical marijuana center; medical marijuana-infused products manufacturer; medical marijuana optional premises cultivation operation; retail marijuana store; retail marijuana cultivation facility; retail marijuana products manufacturing facility; and retail marijuana testing facility.

The draft regulations, however, address the fact that marijuana is still illegal under federal law, stating, “By enacting these Regulations, Archuleta County does not intend to encourage or promote the establishment of any business or operation, or the commitment of any act, that constitutes or may constitute a violation of federal law. As of the date of the enactment of these regulations, the use, possession, distribution, and sale of marijuana is illegal under Federal law and those who engage in such activities do so at their own risk of criminal prosecution.”

With that recognition in place, the regulations layout, among other regulations, 23 operating limitations, including things such as securing inventory, management of facilities, safety and security, verifying proof of age using electronic ID scanners, sign regulations, sponsorship of events by marijuana businesses and limiting hours of operation to between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.

In terms of location, the draft regulations include the following:

• Medical and retail marijuana establishments may be allowed in commercial or industrial zones, but a medical marijuana optional premises cultivation license or a retail marijuana cultivation facilities license must operate in an agricultural/ranching zone under the terms and conditions of a conditional use permit.

• No marijuana establishments will be allowed to operate within 1,000 feet of a school (as defined by the regulations), licensed day care facility, church or dedicated public park.

The appropriateness of the location of a proposed marijuana establishment will be determined at the time the first license is issued for a business, but the regulations state that changes to a neighborhood after the issuance could render the site unsuitable for a marijuana establishment.

• Even if a marijuana establishment is located within a commercial or industrial zone, it may not be closer than 250 feet from any residential or planned unit development, unless the two are separated by a highway such as U.S. 160.

According to the regulations, the distances “are to be computed by direct measurement from the nearest property line of the land used for either the public, private or charter school, licensed day care facility, licensed pre-school, church, dedicated Public Park or land which comprises residential or planned unit development zoned area to the nearest portion of the building in which Medical Marijuana Establishment or Retail Marijuana Establishment products are to be sold.”

• No licenses will be issued for a residential zone district as a home occupation per the county’s land use regulations.

The regulations continue to state application and approval conditions, duties of a licensee and more.

Public comment will be taken at the work session.

While the county has a moratorium in place regarding retail marijuana establishments until early summer, county attorney Todd Starr, a member of the steering committee, has said multiple times he hopes to have regulations in place sooner than that.

randi@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on April 10, 2014.