Marijuana moratorium imposed in Grand County
December 14, 2016
The Grand County BOCC (Board of County Commissioners) placed a moratorium on the issuance of new marijuana licenses on Dec. 13. The decision came after several weeks of discussion. Commissioner Merrit Linke first introduced the idea in October, and the Board began to draft an ordinance with County Attorney Alan Hassler. The ordinance notice was posted in the Middle Park Times on Nov. 3, but the language was amended several times before the Board settled at their meeting this week.
The moratorium was set so the County could take a step back and determine if Grand County's marijuana policies align with what citizens want. The moratorium is enacted on the day of acceptance (Dec. 13) and expires on Jan. 1 2018.
The moratorium puts a hold on filing processing or accepting applications and issuances of licenses or permits for any business that cultivates, processes, dispenses, or sells medical or retail marijuana. The moratorium also prohibits the construction, alteration or use of any building, structure, or property for any activity that would require a license for marijuana-related activities.
The BOCC retain the authority to amend, modify, and/or terminate the moratorium at any time following full public notice within their discretion. During the BOCC meeting, the commissioners discussed the possibility of ending the moratorium early if they were able to reassess Grand County's marijuana ordinance, and find a solution before 2018. The moratorium will also give the Clerk and Recorder's office time to asses their processes of accepting applications and walking applicants through the process.
The moratorium is imposed on any submission, acceptance, processing and approval of all applications for new permits and new licenses for any marijuana related activity.
The moratorium also puts a hold on new applications for the use, construction, alteration or reconstruction of any building, structure or property for marijuana related activities in unincorporated Grand County. The Community Development Department is directed to refuse to accept and prohibited from reviewing or processing any land or zoning application of any type and building permit of any type.
Any applications for marijuana related activities seeking approval for alteration or modification of premises (that are already licensed for a related marijuana activity), where the alteration or modification is within the physical area of the existing license, may be processed. Any licenses that may come up for renewal during the moratorium will be assessed normally. The county will assess any pending licenses that have been approved by the state before the moratorium was enacted normally.
David Michel, General Council for Igadi in Tabernash was present at the meeting and expressed his concerns that the moratorium would inhibit his company's ability to grow and expand as they had planned to do this year. Michel said he had planned to file an application to expand Igadi's grow operation in order to meet their demands outside of the county, and a yearlong moratorium would put the business drastically behind in an industry that is growing at a fast pace.