Weld County commissioners on Monday took their first step in addressing the passage of Amendment 64, introducing an ordinance that prohibits marijuana cultivation, manufacturing and testing facilities, and retail marijuana stores.
“We’re just taking advantage of the amendment itself,” said Bruce Barker, Weld County attorney, at the commissioners’ Monday meeting.
The state constitutional amendment allows the possession of small amounts of marijuana, but gives local governments the authority to ban stores and cultivation facilities, much like the allowance of medical marijuana, he said. That means municipalities within Weld County can each decide how to handle the retail aspect of marijuana, while all parts of unincorporated Weld County will fall under county rules.
The ordinance is scheduled for a second reading on Dec. 26 and a final reading on Jan. 14 before it would go into effect on Jan. 28.
“We are ‘implementing’ Amendment 64 ... By making it compliant with federal law,” said Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer at the meeting.
Following the allowance of medical marijuana in Colorado, Barker said the county spent the better part of a year deciding how to move forward. The long process of crafting a set of regulations by which the county could license facilities, in addition to the fact that dispensaries are often concentrated in cities and towns, played a large part in commissioners’ decision, he said.
“The board is sort of taking a proactive stance, saying, ‘No, we’re not even going down that path. We didn’t do it for medical marijuana, and we’re not going to do it for this,’ ” Barker said.
When county officials first discussed the cultivation of medical marijuana, commissioners said it wasn’t an agricultural operation. Most cultivation facilities were far different in character from traditional agriculture, operating out of large warehouses with guards out front, many times with armored trucks to transport their product, Barker said.
Whether individuals can combine the six plants allowed under Amendment 64 into a co-op is still unclear, he said. That question — and many more gray areas under the amendment — will hopefully become more clear when state legislators and the Colorado departments of revenue and public health and environment take up the issue, Barker said.
Commissioners cited other counties that are taking similar actions, including Douglas County. In Weld, the ordinance applies to the county’s law enforcement code.
The board is sort of taking a proactive stance, saying, ‘No, \n
we’re not even going down that path. We didn’t do it for medical marijuana, and we’re not going to do it for this.’ \n
Bruce Barker, Weld County attorney