In the spirit of cooperation, both sides of a divided city council gave a little to finalize the licensing requirements for medical marijuana establishments in the City of Delta.
In November, a majority of the electorate voted to authorize the sale, manufacture, research and development, testing and cultivation of medical marijuana in the city.
Since Colorado voters approved the sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older, a portion of the state tax revenue derived from those sales has been dedicated to education.
Delta County is currently the recipient of four marijuana-funded grants that were awarded through a competitive process.
A deadlocked city council has left licensing requirements for medical marijuana facilities in the City of Delta unresolved. If an answer isn't found -- and fairly quickly -- state regulations will take effect and any attempt to exert local control will be lost.
The subject of medical marijuana dominated both a work session and the regular meeting of the Delta City Council on Jan. 8, but the evening ended on a musical note. Under the heading of "Only in Delta," Judy Hagan picked up her microphone and sang "Happy Birthday" to the mayor, with a refrain that included blessings from her mother in heaven.
The Delta Police Department will receive up to $31,000 to investigate unlicensed marijuana cultivation and distribution operations.
Funds for the gray and black market marijuana enforcement grants come from the state's marijuana tax and are allocated by the state legislature through the marijuana enforcement division.
Two ordinances related to the establishment of medical marijuana facilities in the City of Delta passed on first reading at the Dec. 18 meeting of the Delta City Council.
One ordinance deals with zoning; the other concerns licensing.
The Delta City Council is proposing to cap the number of medical marijuana centers to be licensed in the City of Delta at two -- and those two establishments will not be collecting city sales tax above the 3 percent levied by other businesses.
In what was described as a "proactive" move, in April the city asked voters to impose a special tax on marijuana sales and marijuana cultivation.
As a starting point for licensing medical marijuana centers and cultivation facilities, Delta City Council members are reviewing regulations in place in nearby communities. A three-month moratorium has been established to give council time to work through the regulatory framework for the medical marijuana facilities authorized by city voters in November's general election.
During a special meeting on Nov. 13, Delta City Council unanimously approved an emergency ordinance placing a three-month moratorium on the acceptance and processing of applications for medical marijuana center licenses and for building permits related to those establishments.
Medical marijuana centers were approved by city voters during the Nov. 6 election.
Two of the four marijuana questions on the November ballot were narrowly approved by voters in the City of Delta. Measure 2F allows the establishment of medical marijuana centers. Measure 2H permits the establishment of medical marijuana cultivation, testing, research and manufacturing facilities.
A draft of the 2019 budget is in the hands of Hotchkiss trustees, who will review the numbers individually, then meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, for a work session.
They will also review revisions to the mobile home regulations at that work session.
On Oct. 12, eight Delta residents were arrested in connection with an illegal marijuana cultivation and processing facility within the City of Delta. The ensuing investigation led investigators to believe the marijuana was being cultivated and processed for the purpose of illegal distribution in Miami, Fla.
An unprecedented number of area residents addressed Delta City Council on the issue of marijuana, input that was welcomed by council members who said they wished citizens were equally outspoken on a broader range of topics.
The issue of marijuana came to the forefront of the Sept. 4 meeting, where council members considered four marijuana questions for the November ballot.
The trustees present at the Sept. 5 workshop for Orchard City were eager to tackle the agenda and get to work on various matters. First, they reviewed the ordinance for regulating the cultivation and possession of marijuana.
The Aug. 16 meeting of the Hotchkiss Town Council opened on a rather somber note, mourning the passing of trustee Jim Roberts. Roberts was an active member of the community serving not only as trustee since 2012, but volunteering his time with the local fire department and the North Fork Ambulance.
During the municipal election in April, the issue of marijuana sales in the City of Delta frequently cropped up. Most questions were prompted by two ballot measures concerning the taxation of retail marijuana and retail marijuana products -- if in the future those sales were allowed. Both measures passed by about a 60-40 margin.
In recent weeks the Delta County Sheriff's Office has received numerous phone calls from people asking how many marijuana plants can be grown legally. The answer is 12 plants in or on a residential property in the unincorporated portions of Delta County.
Crawford voters will decide if retail marijuana sales will be taxed, even though such activity is not currently allowed in town. The question was placed on the ballot by the town council.
The two marijuana questions on the City of Delta's municipal ballot are creating confusion, as predicted by several council members.
Although it is not legal to sell retail marijuana or to conduct a commercial grow operation in city limits, the city is asking voters to approve taxation on both those possibilities.
On Monday, Feb. 26, a community forum on the "Effects of Marijuana on Our Community" convened at the Delta Performing Arts Center. This forum came together in response to the ballot question on taxation of retail marijuana and marijuana products in Delta and Orchard City.
On Monday, a community forum on the "Effects of Marijuana on Our Community" drew a sparse crowd, but the topic of marijuana still figures largely in the upcoming municipal election.
The communities of Delta and Orchard City are both asking voters to consider taxation of retail marijuana and marijuana products, although the sale of marijuana is not legal in either community.
A county ordinance limiting marijuana plants to 12 on residential property will take effect on Feb. 10.
To provide clarification concerning the number of marijuana plants a grower is authorized to cultivate, grow or produce, the Colorado General Assembly enacted HB 17-1220, which took effect Jan. 1.
Voters in the Town of Crawford will have a taxing question in the upcoming municipal election in April, although it will not add revenue to the town anytime soon. Last week the town council approved asking the voters to approve a 5 percent sales tax on marijuana sales within the Town of Crawford, with authority to increase this to up to 10 percent without further approval from the voters.
The Town of Crawford adopted an ordinance at its Jan. 3 meeting, updating its regulations regarding the cultivation and possession of marijuana within the town limits. It reflects changes last year in the state's laws regulating marijuana cultivation in residences.
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.
An effort to legalize marijuana sales and cultivation within the City of Delta has taken a new direction.
Christi Prettyman was circulating a petition asking city council to repeal the ordinance that prohibits marijuana sales and cultivation in the City of Delta.
At the municipal election scheduled for April 3, Delta voters will fill two council seats and be asked to consider taxation on the sale of marijuana, even though sales are currently prohibited.
A petition is being circulated that asks Delta City Council to reconsider a 2013 ordinance prohibiting retail marijuana stores, marijuana cultivation facilities, retail marijuana products manufacturing and marijuana testing facilities within the City of Delta.
The target date for placing a marijuana question on the April ballot has passed, but proponent Christi Prettyman plans to continue gathering signatures into the early part of next year.
Prettyman has 180 days to obtain a sufficient number of signatures from registered electors in the City of Delta.
Paonia residents planning to grow cannabis plants will have new laws to comply with beginning Jan. 1.
At the Nov. 28 board meeting trustees unanimously passed Ordinance 2017-12, "regulating the possession of marijuana" in town.
An ordinance being considered by the Paonia board of trustees could limit the number of marijuana plants grown at a single residence to six while allowing for 12 plants to be grown for medicinal purposes. But in enforcing the ordinance, how can police officers differentiate between plants grown for medicinal use and those grown for recreational use?
The public is invited to an informal discussion of a proposed marijuana ordinance regulating in-town marijuana laws and penalties. The meeting is at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1, at Paonia Town Hall, 214 Grand Avenue.
A meeting with the Town of Paonia's governmental affairs committee to discuss a proposed ordinance related to the Town of Paonia's in-town marijuana growing regulations will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1, at Paonia Town Hall, 214 Grand Avenue.
Discussion of a marijuana ordinance before the Paonia Board of Trustees was tabled at the Sept. 26 meeting to give the public and the board more time to consider its implications. The draft ordinance was also referred to the town Public Safety and Governmental Affairs committee for review.
The Crawford Town Board was expecting to do the first reading of a marijuana ordinance at its work session on Sept. 20. When it became apparent that it was incomplete and trustees had more questions than answers, the matter was tabled and placed on the agenda for its regular meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 4.
Orchard City's Cannabis Revenue Committee announced last week that it is ready to drop a recommendation for immediate repeal of the town's ordinances which bans marijuana business. The committee had recommended the town repeal current bans on medical and commercial marijuana businesses before taking the question of sales tax from marijuana businesses to the voters. It has drawn notable public opposition.
Delta resident Christi Prettyman is circulating a petition that asks the city's voters to reconsider their stance on marijuana.
"I wanted to gauge the interest of the community, to see if residents are interested in doing what Colorado has been doing for the last five years," Prettyman said.
At the Orchard City Town Board meeting on Aug. 9, it was announced that the trustee Cannabis Revenue Committee has performed the task assigned to it by the full town board.
"We feel we have completed our work," announced Tom Huerkamp who along with Gynee Thomassen comprises the committee membership.
Orchard City constituents turned out for the town board's Aug. 9 meeting with comments offered to their government on management of the water utility, on marijuana businesses, and on the town board's fiscal responsibility.
Dave Stueck offered comments on the town water utility.
The Orchard City Town Board is scheduled to hear a further report from the Cannabis Revenue Committee -- trustees Tom Huerkamp and Gynee Thomassen -- on potential town revenue from licensing fees on marijuana business at its regular Aug. 9 meeting.
The draft report update is a one-page document dealing with "manufacturing, testing, and transport licenses."
Area residents on July 12 pushed back against Orchard City's moves toward allowing marijuana businesses to operate in town. However, not all were opposed. Some spoke of personal benefits from medical marijuana.
The Orchard City Town Board will move ahead with an expanded study of the types of marijuana businesses that could be allowed in town to provide government funding following town board action on July 12.
The town board's Cannabis Revenue Committee will also continue looking into six types of marijuana businesses, including retail shops, that could provide money to local government.
The Orchard City Town Board on July 12 will discuss, and possibly act on, a trustee committee report that lays out a road map for the eventuality of voter approval for marijuana businesses in town, including repeal of the town's current bans.
The first recommendation board's cannabis revenue committee is that "the town should start the process of repealing the ordinances of 2011 and 2013 prohibiting any type of licensed marijuana business."
The Delta County Sheriff's Office reminds everyone that commercial distribution of marijuana in Delta County is prohibited by county ordinance.
Individuals cultivating marijuana plants for medical or recreational purposes must have their marijuana plants in an enclosed and locked space.
Orchard City Town Board members are expressing second thoughts about allowing marijuana businesses in town as a way to generate more tax revenue for town government.
Speaking at the town board's June 14 meeting, trustee Craig Fuller expressed his opposition to the town board taking unilateral action and allowing marijuana business because it would be against the express will of the people, and he offered an alternative plan.
In spite of strong opposition from town residents at a February public meeting, the Orchard City Town Board is moving forward with the idea of allowing marijuana business in the town.
Mayor Ken Volgamore announced at a work session last week that he will appoint two trustees, Gynee Thomassen and Tom Huerkamp, to research the issue further.
Editor's note: With a majority of Orchard City trustees expressing interest in marijuana business as a way of raising town government revenue, and with a majority of town residents likely opposed to the idea, thanks to Orchard City resident Matt Soper for compiling a history of the marijuana issue in Orchard City and Delta County. (Sources and references are available.)
Orchard City Mayor Ken Volgamore and some of the town board members expressed disappointment that a room full of constituents left immediately following the previous week's community meeting on government revenue and marijuana.
"It was very interesting," Volgamore said during the town board's regular meeting on Feb. 8, "that after we went over the three items, especially the marijuana, that all but four [of the 70 people] got up and left.
Residents of Orchard City filled town hall to standing room to tell town board members their views on increasing government revenues and allowing marijuana business to operate there.
A trend of declining revenues the town is experiencing is contributing to depleted cash reserves in town budget funds including the water fund and roads fund, a trustee report has concluded.
During the Orchard City town meeting on marijuana and town revenues last week, Mayor Ken Volgamore noted that the town board has the ability to allow marijuana business in the town without putting the issue to a vote of the electorate. However, the mayor did not endorse doing so.
As a trial date for Stormy and Stacy Griffith approaches in Delta District Court, Stormy Griffith has been placed in federal custody for many of the same charges levied in Delta County.
In Delta County, the Griffiths are charged with cultivation of marijuana (more than 30 plants);
The idea of Orchard City turning to marijuana as a town government tax source first came up at the end of a budget work session last September. Mayor Ken Volgamore took a straw poll of trustees on the marijuana-as-revenue issue. No decisions were made at that time.
There are plenty of studies that discuss the benefits of marijuana use. New literature links cannabis to the improvement of many diseases, including the use of marijuana to alleviate the symptoms of nausea in chemotherapy patients.
A Cedaredge couple awaiting trial for cultivation and distribution of marijuana has again been arrested.
Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee reports the arrests are a result of an investigation conducted by the sheriff's office and two federal agencies -- the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
A Crawford resident's ongoing attempts to convince town council to allow a marijuana business to operate in town continues to cause turmoil. His request, repeated at the Sept. 22 council meeting, resulted in name-calling, heated arguments, and a trustee walking out in protest of comments made by her fellow trustees.
The board of education of Delta County Joint School District #50 is urging Hotchkiss voters to say no to the three marijuana questions on the municipal ballot.
"The board of education desires to make its position on the matter clear," states a resolution adopted unanimously March 17.
Charges have been filed against a Cedaredge couple accused of operating a large marijuana grow operation on Cactus Park Road east of Cedaredge.
Stormy Griffith, 36, and his wife Stacy, 32, have been charged with cultivation of marijuana (more than 30 plants); possession with intent to manufacture, dispense, sell or distribute marijuana or marijuana concentrate; processing or manufacturing marijuana and marijuana concentrate; distribution of marijuana concentrate; and possession of a Schedule I controlled substance.
At the Jan. 27 meeting of the Paonia town board, a discussion regarding the issue of allowing marijuana businesses within town limits focused largely on jobs and the economy. Trustee Ross King, who requested the discussion, said the creation of jobs, in light of the struggling economy, is a "paramount concern" the board should be discussing. He noted that other area towns are eyeing cannabis sales, production and testing as an "economic generator... We should be discussing it among ourselves and among our community."
The Lancaster County Sheriff's Office reports the arrest of a Cedaredge man, 68-year-old Steven McElmury, for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.
McElmury was arrested Thursday, Jan. 21, after a sheriff's K-9 indicated the odor of narcotics coming from McElmury's 2014 Dodge Ram pickup, which was found unoccupied in a business parking lot in Lincoln, Neb. The pickup had been observed driving eastbound on Interstate 80 a few minutes earlier.
Hotchkiss voters will have the opportunity to decide whether to allow cannabis and cannabis-related businesses after the town council vote to put the issue on the April 5 ballot. Trustee James Roberts did not cast a vote.
Citizens in Hotchkiss and Paonia could see cannabis back on the ballot in 2016.
In Hotchkiss, Mary Hockenbery is spearheading a petition to place a question on the ballot that would allow "limited retail recreational/medical marijuana" sales and manufacturing within town limits.
An extensive investigation that took DEA investigators from the west edge of Montrose County to a grow operation in Gateway Canyon, and finally to property north of Cedaredge, resulted in the seizure of approximately 1,300 pounds of marijuana last week. In addition, two arrests were made.
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