CO: Douglas County Officials Address State Panel On Marijuana

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Douglas County officials were among those who testified at the Aug. 17 meeting of the 2016 Interim Study Committee on Cost-benefit Analysis of Legalized Marijuana in Colorado.

Committee members are state Reps. Dan Pabon, Jonathan Singer and Yeulin Willett and state Sens. Randy Baumgardner, Irene Aguilar and Chris Holbert, a Parker resident.

Chief Deputy Steve Johnson of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said he was encouraged to hear testimony given by the industry and its desire to be responsible.

He also shared a little about what has been happening in Douglas County.

Johnson, who has 33 years of experience in law enforcement, told committee members that since 2013, there have been more than 130 grow operations in Douglas County. So far this year, the county has verified 40 illegal grow operations. In 2015, there were 45 for the entire year.

“This is an extreme public safety concern, and required law enforcement to approach the commissioners about enacting an ordinance to prevent these illegal grows from proliferating,” Johnson said.

That ordinance, which is one of the strictest cultivation ordinances in the state, was passed by the Douglas County Board of Commissioners and went into effect Aug. 9.

Besides limiting the number of plants grown at a single residence to 12, the new Douglas County ordinance also prohibits outdoor grows, requires growers to live in the home, and requires tenants of a rental property to have written permission from the property owner before establishing the property as a location where marijuana may be grown, cultivated or processed.

It also prohibits the use of compressed flammable gas products and flammable liquids, and addresses odor.

“The gray market has put local governments in a difficult position,” Kelly Dunnaway, deputy county attorney for Douglas County, told the committee.

Dunnaway added that he would like to see statewide regulation on the gray market and hopes Colorado will look at Douglas County and use it as a success.

“If someone has 99 plants and properly cultivates them, it would produce the equivalent of being able to smoke six joints a day for 22,000 days,” he said. “With 12 plants, someone could be able to smoke six joints a day for 3,000 days.”

Eric Bergman, policy director at Colorado Counties Inc., a nonprofit organization that helps counties work together on issues, also spoke during the local government impact section of the meeting, emphasizing that residential homes are not suited to grow large quantities of marijuana.

“Counties are ready to partner and find solutions for the next session,” he told the committee.

The interim committee moved to draft 10 bills this year related to marijuana in Colorado. The deadline to finalize bills for the interim committee is Sept. 7.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Douglas County Officials Address State Panel On Marijuana
Author: Shanna Fortier
Contact: 303.566.4100
Photo Credit: Christopher Furlong
Website: Castle Rock News-Press