Winter Park restricts medical marijuana
June 28, 2011
The Town of Winter Park enacted an ordinance on June 14 stating that registered medical marijuana card-holders may grow a maximum of six marijuana plants for personal use within town limits.
The ordinance also limits households to a maximum of 12 plants per dwelling or building, regardless of how many card-holders reside there or how many plants their card allows them to possess.
“Inasmuch as we can limit it … I’m 100 percent in favor,” Fraser-Winter Park Police Chief Glen Trainor told town council, noting that his officers found one situation in Winter Park where a group of people was growing more than 100 plants legally.
In that case, three people had cards allowing them to grow more than 20 plants each for personal use, plus they were each registered caregivers for other people, according to Winter Park Town Manager Drew Nelson. The group admitted that they were selling the excess at a profit to a dispensary in Denver for diffusion into edible products.
The grow operation was taking place in a studio of a large condominium complex, and the smell was permeating all the other units in the building, Nelson said.
“This is not in the spirit of the law as it was passed,” he added.
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Amendment 20 of the Colorado Constitution limits each medical marijuana patient to six plants (with three or fewer being flowering mature plants) while Colorado Revised Statute 25-15-106 allows caregivers to have up to five registered medical marijuana patients under their care.
None of Winter Park’s new regulations are meant to preclude primary caregivers from providing services as defined in the state constitution, Nelson said. The ordinance states: “Growing shall be for personal use only by registry identification card holders residing in the dwelling unit, and any retail or wholesale of goods or products derived from the growing of medical marijuana is prohibited, and any offsite distribution of such plants or derived products is also prohibited.”
Nelson said the town’s desire to limit grow operations is for “health concerns, land use concerns, crime concerns.”
He said the intention of the ordinance is to limit the size of grows, not the ability of card holders to grow for themselves or registered patients.
“We are not talking about the guy who is growing a couple plants because he has a card or is a caregiver for somebody else … we are not going to be that intrusive into somebody’s life.” Nelson said. “More than anything else, it’s to prohibit a person from growing way more than they need and distributing it to a dispensary.”
As a home rule municipality, Nelson added, the Town of Winter Park has more leverage when it comes to regulating zoning and land use, “and that’s really what this is.”
– Reid Armstrong can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610