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401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

County limits marijuana plants to 12 on residential property

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The Delta County Commissioners have adopted an ordinance giving notice that, pursuant to Colorado statutes, the county will limit the cultivation, growth or production of marijuana plants to residential property within unincorporated Delta County to 12 marijuana plants per residential property, regardless of the number of persons residing at the property.

The ordinance will be published in full in the Delta County Independent on Jan. 10 and is expected to be adopted on second reading Feb. 5. The ordinance will become effective Feb. 10.

In November 2000 Colorado voters approved Amendment 20 to the Colorado Constitution which created limited right to possession and use of medical marijuana by persons suffering debilitating medical conditions who were placed on a statewide registry by their primary caregivers.

On Nov. 6, 2012, Colorado voters approved Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution which created a limited right for persons 21 years of age and older for the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana plants.

Commercial marijuana cultivation facilities, retail marijuana product manufacturing facilities, and sales and testing facilities of retail marijuana and marijuana products are prohibited in unincorporated areas of the county.

On June 8, 2017, the Colorado General Assembly enacted House Bill 17-1220 to provide clarification about the number of marijuana plants a person is authorized to cultivate, grow or produce. The law took effect Jan. 1, and places a maximum cap of 12 marijuana plants that can be cultivated, grown or produced on or in a residential property regardless of whether the plants are for medical or recreational use "unless a county, municipality, or city and county law expressly permits the cultivation, growth, or production of more than 12 marijuana plants on or in a residential property ...."

Participating with the commissioners in the work sessions on the study and considerations for Ordinance No. 2018-01 were John Baier, county attorney; Fred McKee, county sheriff; Mark Taylor, county undersheriff; and 7th Judicial district attorney Dan Hotsenpiller.

The commissioners found -- as the Colorado General Assembly recited in HB 17-1220 -- that large-scale cultivation of marijuana plants in residential structures may produce a variety of harmful effects on the residents and welfare of residential communities, such as unsafe structural alterations or additions to residences; potentially unsafe alterations to residential electrical systems; additions for water and humidity that can facilitate growth of dangerous or damaging molds and fungi; increased risk of fire and electrocution due to the proximity of electrical and water supplies; potential toxicity of residential air supply due to use of heating devices, generators and the addition of carbon monoxide to growing environments; and the increased risk of fire due to the presence of hazardous materials such as fertilizers and flammable or volatile substances used in the cultivation, production and processing of marijuana plants and derivatives.

The ordinance contains definitions for residential property, such as "enclosed," "locked space" and "residential property."

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