Carbondale reduces cap on pot grows |

Carbondale reduces cap on pot grows

Marijuana plants grow at a Garfield County cultivation facility.
Ryan Hoffman / Citizen Telegram |

Marijuana odor will have to wait for Carbondale’s planning and zoning commission to weigh in, but the Board of Trustees is taking other steps in the meantime.

Trying to address complaints of odor and high-concentration areas for marijuana businesses, Carbondale trustees reduced the town’s cap for marijuana grow operations from five to three.

However, the town has already issued four licenses for recreational grows, which it refers to as “cultivation facilities.” They are issued to Rocky Mountain High, Doctor’s Garden, Crystal River Growers and Black Dog Valley.

But no one’s losing their license. All four will be grandfathered in, and only if one of those businesses doesn’t pan out will the town restrict the number of licenses to three.

The town has issued only two licenses for medical marijuana grow operations, so there’s still room for one more. Rocky Mountain High and Black Dog Valley also have medical marijuana grows.

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The town has received numerous complaints that some of these businesses are odorous, highly concentrated on Buggy Circle and Village Road and causing headaches for town staff trying to keep up with complaints.

When trustees initially set caps of five for each license category, it treated all the business types like they were the same, said Trustee Frosty Merriott. But after having some experience with these businesses, the town has found that the cultivation facilities are the most likely to draw odor complaints, he said.

Trustees also added language that allows the board to consider criteria such as proximity to other marijuana businesses, concentration of marijuana businesses in an area, and impact to the neighborhood when considering a license or renewal.

The board had a number of proposed regulations on its plate Wednesday, but trustees focused on capping grows for now because it was perceived as the most pressing concern, and they had only barely a quorum.

Other proposals that will be addressed later include capping the number of plants a grow operation can have and spacing requirements between marijuana businesses, a rule that’s already applied to Main Street between Seventh Street and Snowmass Drive.

But the trustees are also wary of forcing the marijuana businesses into a corner, which several of the business owners at the meeting said was what created the concentration on Buggy Circle and Village Road.

The board will also consider capping all the license categories to three as well, including medical dispensaries, recreational marijuana shops and marijuana infused products businesses.

Carbondale is also considering requiring marijuana businesses to offset a higher percentage of their energy consumption by using renewable energy sources; the town already requires businesses to offset 30 percent with renewable energy.

First, that, too, will have to go before the planning and zoning commission.

But at the trustees’ meeting Wednesday, only Trustee Katrina Byars voiced support for this move, noting the heavy electricity consumption of the industry.

Others, including Mayor Pro Tem Dan Richardson, thought it would be an arbitrary regulation that the town doesn’t require of other businesses.

Richardson also opposed capping the grow operations to three, saying it didn’t seem like the town’s best option for mitigating odors, but he was outvoted by Byars, Merriott and Marty Silverstein.

In other marijuana regulation news, all the trustees present said they’re interested in pursuing a new type of marijuana business license — one for cannabis clubs.

During public comment on these proposed regulations, James Leonard of Colorado Product Services suggested that the time is right for Carbondale to consider the cannabis clubs, considering that people still don’t have a place to consume marijuana outside of the homes.

And tourists don’t have anywhere to ingest marijuana, making public parks a common place for public consumption violations.

If Carbondale doesn’t do it, another locale else in the valley will do it first, said Merriott.

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