Grand Lake board discusses cannabis regulations |

Grand Lake board discusses cannabis regulations

The sun shines on Grand Lake Town Hall and the flag hanging outside it. The town's board of trustees meets every second and fourth Monday of the month.
Kyle McCabe/Sky-Hi News

A full-draft cannabis ordinance was presented to the Grand Lake Board of Trustees for the first time at its Feb. 27 meeting.

Brian Blumenfeld, a lawyer who specializes in cannabis and has assisted Grand Lake in its legalization process, presented the draft to the board. He has spoken at workshop sessions before, but had brought outlines for the board to discuss certain topics before suggesting Jan. 9 that going through a full-draft ordinance could save some time. 

“I would like to go provision by provision,” Blumenfeld said. “There are some bigger ones, bigger final decisions that you need to make about how this is going to look, and there’s also really important but administrative questions that we need to hash out.”

The trustees and Blumenfeld covered the first few pages of the draft during the workshop before stopping to hear public comments and start the regular board meeting. The first few items required little discussion — for the definitions, license types and local licensing authority sections. Trustees confirmed that dispensaries will be the only cannabis businesses allowed and the board will act as the local licensing authority.

The board had more to discuss when it came to the number of licenses available. The draft stated that the town will issue one license, and one year after the issuance, the town board will “review the results and impacts of marijuana legalization” and decide to issue another license if deemed appropriate.

A screenshot of the Zoom stream of Grand Lake’s board of trustees meeting shows the board listening to lawyer Brian Blumenfeld talk about marijuana ordinances on Nov. 28, 2022.
Kyle McCabe/Sky-Hi News

The board discussed reviewing the ordinance and its processes at the one year mark as well and asked for the review to come a year after the business is open to the public instead of a year after the license issuance. That ordinance item also restricts the total number of marijuana stores in the town to two.

The fifth section covers limitations and requirements for cannabis stores, and the board covered its first five subsections before taking public comment. 

The issue of location drew discussion, with the board showing support for omitting language that would bar cannabis businesses from operating in a building that has commercial and residential units. Other location restrictions include requirements to be within the commercial zoning district or planned development district, but not on Grand Avenue east of Broadway Street.

Separation requirements prohibit cannabis stores from being within 300 feet of the nearest property line of an educational institution or school, child care facility or other cannabis store. 

Town manager John Crone pointed out that the Grand Lake Center is licensed as a daycare center, meaning a shop could not be within 300 feet of it, and Blumenfeld replied that the ordinance subsection gives the board the power to waive distance requirements.

A co-location subsection read that town licenses can be used for either recreational or medical sales or both. The trustees asked for the language to require recreational sales while leaving medical sales optional.

The last subject the board covered involved signage and advertisements. The draft restricts signage and advertisements that depict cannabis, its plants or any symbols commonly understood to refer to cannabis from being posted on the business’ exterior or in any location where they are visible from a public right-of-way.

Signs also cannot use the words marijuana, cannabis or other common words that refer to it. Signs also need to receive permits from the town. Trustees talked about what the town might want to allow signs to have so people can know the business is a cannabis store. They showed support for allowing words like “recreational” and “medical” as well as the green cross symbol.

Three public commenters spoke during the discussion.

The first voiced opposition to the board removing the language preventing cannabis stores from operating buildings with commercial and residential units, and the last two spoke more generally about their opposition to having a dispensary in Grand Lake at all.

Other business:

  • Jim Cervenka from the Grand Lake Area Historical Society told the board about the society’s plan to award a plaque and historical designation to the town’s community house, and the trustees accepted the designation.
  • The board approved a new contract with Hilly Lawn for landscaping services that is $14,000 more than the previous contract because the company will take on more projects, as well as cost of living and gas price increases, among other things.
  • Treasurer Heike Wilson reviewed January financials and December sales tax data with the trustees.
  • Trustees approved the purchase of a 2023 Ford F-150 truck for the water department for $43,097.67.
  • The board approved a request for proposal for environmental engineering consultants to create a stormwater management plan for the west side of the town.
  • Trustees approved a new contract for Crone that increased his annual pay rate to $130,000 for 2023.
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