Marathon meeting in Carbondale yields tighter marijuana regulations
Ryan Summerlin September 20, 2013
CARBONDALE — In a five-hour work session, the Carbondale Board of Trustees hammered out a consensus Tuesday night about many of the rules and regulations for the anticipated recreational marijuana industry, which is expected to blossom after the first of the year.
“It was a lot of pot talk last night,” said Town Manager Jay Harrington on Wednesday.
The topic for most of the meeting was a proposed new ordinance that is supposed to be in place as of Oct. 1, to comply with the requirements of new state laws prompted by last year’s passage of Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution.
That amendment, and the succeeding laws, made it legal for anyone 21 or older in Colorado to grow, sell, buy, use, cook with and test for quality of marijuana.
Known as “retail marijuana,” as opposed to medical marijuana legalized by the state’s voters 13 years ago, the newest cash crop in Colorado is expected to officially start growing as of Jan. 1, 2014.
Harrington said the Carbondale trustees worked out a variety of issues on Tuesday night, including an agreement that retail pot shops must be at least 500 feet from protected facilities such as schools and drug and alcohol treatment facilities. But where the trustees once considered making the shops be at least 500 feet from each other, they amended that on Tuesday to 400 feet.
In addition, Harrington said, the trustees agreed to permit other marijuana-related businesses, including cultivation centers, factories for making edible pot products and testing facilities, either in the general industrial zone or in the commercial/retail/wholesale zone along parts of Highway 133 as it passes through Carbondale.
These establishments also must be located no closer than 500 feet from a school or treatment center, although there is not a requirement regarding the distance between, say, two edibles factories or two cultivation centers.
The application procedure for such businesses, the trustees concluded, will require a special use permit, which calls for a public hearing before any operating license is issued.
The trustees also concurred that any retail marijuana operation must undergo a public hearing as part of its formal application process.
And at this point, the trustees are planning to put a cap of five businesses on each category, meaning no more than five pot shops (whether medical, retail or both), five cultivation centers, five factories for making edibles, and five testing facilities can be operating at the same time in Carbondale.
Harrington said a full, revised version of the proposed ordinance is to be posted on the town’s website (carbondalegov.org) by the end of today, and the trustees will take the matter up again on Sept. 24 at a regular meeting.
Harrington said the trustees are planning to make this an emergency ordinance, to be effective on Oct. 1, to meet the state deadline.