401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Marijuana centers to be capped at two

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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. Those measures were approved, but the clearly-worded questions limited the special sales/excise tax to retail marijuana -- not the medical marijuana centers or medical marijuana cultivation approved by voters in November.

To generate any additional revenue, the city will have to go back to the voters.

During a work session on Nov. 28, council members reviewed licensing, operational and zoning requirements for the medical marijuana facilities. The regulations adopted by the town of DeBeque served as a starting point. Operations will also have to comply with a lengthy list of state regulations.

About 10 individuals attended the work session, representing a variety of interests, and they were allowed to participate in the discussion.

As currently proposed, marijuana cultivation will be a conditional use in the A-1, B-2 and I (industrial) districts. No marijuana facility will be located within 100 feet of any existing residential district and the grow must be enclosed. Proposed regulations address odor and outdoor lighting, but not cross-pollination, which is a concern for hemp growers. It was noted that the conditional use requires a public hearing, which will give the public,hemp growers an opportunity to provide input.

Marijuana products manufacturing and marijuana testing facilities are "uses by right" in the B-3 and I (industrial) districts.

Marijuana stores are a "use by right" in the B-2 and I districts.

The B-1 district is currently off limits, meaning medical marijuana centers will be prohibited from the central business district.

Additional limits on location will be established through "buffers" that require a minimum distance from schools, day care centers and other locales where youth congregate. City staff is preparing zoning maps for council to review at a future work session.

City attorney David McConaughy anticipates having a draft of licensing and operational regulations ready for council review at the Dec. 18 meeting. At that time, McConaughy said, there will be additional opportunities for public comment and revisions.

As the work session drew to a close, what had been a civil discussion grew more heated as some business owners highlighted the negative impact they believe marijuana sales will have on the community. Others countered with the opportunities "the green future" will create for new economic activity. David Moran, a resident of Cory, is hopeful his business, Internet Cameras United, can find success by helping medical marijuana centers meet state mandates for video surveillance of their operations.

After attending the Nov. 28 work session, Moran sent a letter to council member, urging them to put aside their fears and make Delta "the model of success that other states look to for guidance."

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