Breckenridge Summit County government officials finalized policies regulating the sale, cultivation and production of medical marijuana and marijuana-infused products Tuesday ahead of the state deadline in July.
The new regulations dropped a controversial earlier proposal to allow zoning for large commercial grow centers on the north side of the county that upset some residents in the area and presented possible logistical problems.
The newly adopted regulations also leave out a fee schedule for residential grow permits.
County officials debated the right fee to place on the permits at the meeting Tuesday and were torn between wanting the fee to cover administration costs but not wanting the permits to become so expensive as to discourage the public from getting them.
Each is expected to cost more than $400 in staff time to issue, but planners suggested charging $165 for permits during the first year.
“One hundred sixty-five dollars does not seem onerous at all when you consider what it would cost for (a grower) to just go buy the product,” Summit County Commissioner Karn Steigelmeier said Tuesday. “It seems arbitrarily low. I think, ideally, we’d want to go in another year to what it really costs, but I think it is wise to start at a lower fee.”
A community member at the meeting argued taxpayers should not be subsidizing expenses associated with medical marijuana.
The county has not reached a decision about the fees.
The new county regulations are similar to those of the town of Breckenridge, government officials said.
Retail, production and cultivation centers now are allowed to operate in commercially or industrially zoned locations in unincorporated Summit County that are at least 50 feet from residential areas and 1,000 feet from schools, child care centers and colleges.
The new policies regulate hours of operation, signage, alcohol and marijuana consumption on-site and security systems as well as waste disposal, ventilation, parking and other issues.
The county has delayed adopting the policies for several years, waiting for the Colorado Legislature to clarify and finalize state regulations before developing local ones.
But the clock was to run out for local regulations this year. If the county had not developed local rules for the sale and cultivation of medical marijuana by July 1, it would have defaulted to the state’s policies, which would cost the local government almost all control over which, where and how many medical marijuana businesses are opened in unincorporated Summit County, according to a staff report. Under state regulations, local officials also would be unable to regulate centers’ signs, size or odor.