Photo by John F. Russell
The Routt County Board of Commissioners is close to banning marijuana plants from the garden produce competition at the annual county fair. The commissioners also are poised to extend the ban to the possession or display of pot on all county properties.
Steamboat Springs Anyone harboring dreams of winning a blue ribbon at the 2013 Routt County Fair for a particularly lush marijuana plant, or some special baked goods, might want to consider a reset.
Sarvisberry scones and zucchini are a still better bet.
After hearing a request from the Fair Board to ban pot from the fairgrounds in Hayden and from the fair’s popular home arts exhibits, the Routt County Board of Commissioners made plans Monday to expand a marijuana ban to all county property and facilities. The ban won’t become official until the commissioners formally adopt a resolution to that effect.
Assistant County Attorney Erick Knaus told the commissioners that in addition to decriminalizing possession of an ounce or less of marijuana for adults 21 and older, the provisions of Amendment 64, passed by the voters of Colorado in November 2012, allow owners to regulate marijuana possession and use on their property.
“The direction is to prohibit marijuana and marijuana plants,” Knaus said. “Amendment 64 allows property owners to do that.”
Fairgrounds Manager Jill Delay told the commissioners that the Fair Board’s discussion of marijuana initially came up in a humorous context at its November 2012 meeting.
“It started as a joke when we said, ‘What are we going to do if people bring in marijuana plants or baked goods?’” Delay told the commissioners. “In the past, people have brought in noxious weeds as a joke, and we have a rule that noxious weeds are not allowed (as a fair exhibit). Then we thought, ‘Well, maybe it’s not so funny.’”
The agenda packet presented to the commissioners makes the request for a resolution prohibiting possession and display of marijuana at the Routt County Fairgrounds during the fair, “similar to the no alcohol resolution.”
But Delay and the commissioners confirmed Monday that alcohol is treated differently than marijuana would be under the new resolution banning pot. The current ban on alcohol prohibits people from strolling around the fairgrounds with open containers of alcohol. But the fair has had a home beer-brewing contest for years. And last year, for the first time, the fair included a beer garden, Delay said.
“We’re comfortable with that inconsistency,” Commissioner Tim Corrigan said.
However, Commissioner Doug Monger disagreed that the difference between the way the fair manages alcohol consumption and the plans to ban marijuana are inconsistent. The point was made that possession of marijuana is still a crime under federal law.
Knaus said the pertinent section of Amendment 64 that allows property owners like the county to impose their own constraints on marijuana reads: “Nothing in this section shall prohibit a person, employer, school, hospital, detention facility, corporation or any other entity who occupies, owns or controls a property from prohibiting or otherwise regulating the possession, consumption, use, display, transfer, distribution, sale, transportation, or growing of marijuana on, or in that property.”
The fairgrounds are in Hayden, and the town of Hayden began discussion in late February about imposing rules on recreational marijuana use there.
Monger suggested that he and his fellow commissioners address a fairgrounds ban in a larger context.
“Let’s move forward with one resolution for banning marijuana on all county property and one that coves the exhibition of all those types of products,” he said.
Asked how the ban could be enforced, Knaus replied that once a person in possession of marijuana is asked to leave, failure to do so would constitute trespass.
The commissioners asked Knaus to draft a resolution to enforce the ban.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com