Grand County commissioners are formulating regulations for both retail and medical marijuana facilities looking to open under Colorado’s Amendment 64.
The commissioners discussed a draft set of marijuana laws during a public meeting on Monday, Dec. 2. The regulations will only apply to unincorporated Grand County with appropriate zoning, which mostly includes Tabernash, areas surrounding Granby, areas north and east of Hot Sulphur Springs, areas south and east of Kremmling and areas along Highway 34 (for detailed maps of unincorporated county areas with zoning potential for retail marijuana, see the county website). The county’s marijuana licensing draft largely used Denver’s regulations as a template, which was one of the first municipalities to pass regulations when its laws were approved last September.
Like the Denver laws, commissioners are considering creating a 1,000-foot buffer between pot shops and schools, churches, childcare centers and other retail marijuana facilities. But existing pot shops will be grandfathered in with the laws, meaning a church or preschool can’t open near a marijuana facility and force it to move.
Similar to liquor licensing, applications for marijuana facilities will be processed through the Clerk and Recorder office. Applicants will need to provide fingerprints, buildings plans and security plans. Per state law, retail facilities must cultivate 70 percent of the marijuana sold onsite, meaning cannabis stores must apply for both a retail store and cultivation license.
Retail shops can only operate in business and tourist zones. Cultivation facilities can only operate in business zones or forestry and open zones. Six additional licenses are available with various zoning, including retail products manufacturers, retail testing facilities, warehouses, medical marijuana centers, optional premises cultivation and medical marijuana products manufactures.
County taxes won’t apply to medical marijuana facilities, so commissioners don’t expect retail pot shops to replace dispensaries. Both a retail shop and dispensary can operate on the same property and in the same building, but the spaces and products must be kept separate to comply with state law.
The state requires specific fees for marijuana retail shop applications, as well as fees for converting medical dispensaries to retail shops. The county will likely require additional fees as well to cover its operating and enforcement expenses.
Another public hearing on the proposed marijuana licensing regulations is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 at the county building in Hot Sulphur Springs. Read the full draft of the proposed regulations.
Leia Larsen can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603.