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Boulder County Awaits State Laws, Rules On Recreational-Marijuana Businesses

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Boulder County, which still is reviewing more than 40 applications from businesses seeking medical marijuana licenses, now faces uncertainties about what kinds of state laws and regulations might affect the county's ability to control businesses planning to grow or sell marijuana for recreational uses.

"We're looking to follow the will of the voters," said county commission chairwoman Cindy Domenico, referring to Colorado voters' November 2012 approval of Amendment 24, which allows individuals age 21 and older to possess, use, purchase or transport one ounce or less of marijuana.

However, Boulder County officials -- like their counterparts in county and municipal governments elsewhere in Colorado -- are waiting to see exactly what state laws and rules they'll have to follow, if those local governments decide to allow businesses to grow and sell recreational marijuana within their jurisdictions.

Any regulations about the time, place, manner, and number of recreational marijuana establishments in the unincorporated parts of the county will depend in part on the laws that emerge from the Legislature by the time it adjourns its 2013 session in early May -- as well as regulations that the Colorado Department is expected to promulgate by July 1.

Domenico said Tuesday that Boulder County officials hope to apply at least some of the county regulations they've enacted for locating and licensing medical marijuana businesses over the past 21/2 years --rules that Domenico said "we're still learning from."

In mid-2010, the commissioners amended Boulder County's Land Use Code to specify that medical-marijuana dispensaries and growing operations would be allowed only in transitional, business, commercial, light industrial and general industrial zoning districts. The manufacturing of medical marijuana-infused products, such as drinks, baked goods and skin creams, is allowed only in industrial zoning districts.

The county regulations also prohibit locating any medical marijuana business within 1,000 feet of an alcohol or drug treatment facility, a licensed child care facility, or an educational facility with students below the college level.

In September 2011, commissioners adopted licensing regulations for such medical marijuana businesses. On June 28, 2012, commissioners appointed Liz Donaghey, a communications specialist in the county Administrative Services Department, to be Boulder County's "local licensing authority.".

The county got its first formal license application last July 13. Donaghey said the county had received 47 two applications from businesses seeking county licenses. Two-- for businesses that had proposed manufacturing medical marijuana-infused products -- have been withdrawn. Two businesses, a growing operation and an infused-products manufacturer, both on the 5500 block of Arapahoe Avenue, have been granted licenses.

The other 43 applications -- 27 for growing operations, eight for dispensaries and eight for infused-products manufacturers -- are under review for such things as whether their existing or proposed operations conform to requirements in Boulder County's land use and building codes, Donaghey said.

A number of existing businesses "weren't on the radar" before they had to start notifying the Land Use Department of their presence in mid-2010 and, as of last summer, had to begin submitting county license applications, Donaghey said.

Donaghey circulates applications to the Land Use Department, the Transportation Department, the Boulder County Sheriff's Office, Boulder County Public Health, the Boulder County Treasurer's Office and the applicable rural fire district, which can then notify her of any concerns they have about an application.

County officials said the more than 40 applications actually involved 18 or 19 locations. Those businesses that already were in operation at the time of their applications are being allowed to continue operating as long as they're pursuing their applications, county officials said, and as long as they aren't found in violation of any laws or local regulations.

On Tuesday, the commissioners amended their licensing requirements to include new fees, $125 for a business that modifies its pending license application and $1,000 for a county-licensed business that seeks to modify its approved premises. Those fees, deputy county attorney David Hughes said, are needed to cover the additional staff review time that would result. Boulder County already is charging a $3,500 fee for a business' original license application and will be charging $2,500 for a license renewal.

Domenico said Boulder County will probably apply the same zoning-district location limits on recreational marijuana businesses that the county adopted in 2010 for medical-marijuana businesses.

Beyond that, though, the county won't consider local recreational-marijuana regulations until it sees what emerges from the Legislature and the Colorado Department of Revenue.

"It's an evolving process," Domenico said, with the county staff monitoring what's going on in Denver because "we don't want to get out ahead of that."


News Hawk- TruthSeekr420 420 MAGAZINE
Source: timescall.com
Author: John Fryar
Contact: Contact Us - Longmont Times-Call
Website: Boulder County awaits state laws, rules on recreational-marijuana businesses - Longmont Times-Call
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