Marathon meeting in Carbondale yields tighter pot regs
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
CARBONDALE — In a five-hour work session Tuesday night, the Carbondale Board of Trustees hammered out a consensus about many of the rules and regulations for the anticipated recreational marijuana industry, which is likely to blossom after the first of the year.
“It was a lot of pot talk last night,” Town Manager Jay Harrington said 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 state constitution.
That amendment, and the succeeding laws, made it legal for anyone in Colorado 21 or older to grow, sell, buy, use, cook with and test for quality of marijuana.
Known as “retail marijuana” — as opposed to medical marijuana, which the state’s voters legalized 13 years ago — the newest cash crop in Colorado is expected to start growing officially as of Jan. 1.
Harrington said the Carbondale trustees worked out a variety of issues 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 at least 500 feet from one another, 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 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 the issuing of any operating license.
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 due to be posted on the town’s website (www.carbondalegov.org) by the end of today, and the trustees will take the matter up again at a regular meeting Tuesday.
Harrington said the trustees are planning to make this an emergency ordinance to be effective on Oct. 1 to meet the state deadline.
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