CO: Pueblo County Commissioners Want Home Pot Grows Down From 99 Plants Each To 18

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The Pueblo County commissioners want to add to the November ballot an advisory question that would ask the state to significantly change the number of marijuana plants that could be grown per residence in residential areas.

Currently the state allows 99 plants per residence. The new ballot question would ask the Colorado General Assembly to change that to no more than 18 plants per residence.

The commissioners released a draft resolution for the ballot question Monday during a work session.

County officials said Pueblo County, like many other communities across the state, has witnessed several illegal grows in residential areas, which are often a result of an abuse of the legal caregiver system allowed under Amendment 20.

Commissioner Sal Pace said a grey market has risen because of the loose restrictions surrounding caregiver grows.

“There’s a whole lot of research showing that there’s a grey market that’s abusing legal medical marijuana home grows. These are unlicensed. They’re untested,” Pace said.

“The increase in the busts of home grows are the result of people abusing this grey market.”

The commissioners said that 99 plants per residence is far too many in a residential neighborhood.

The county has taken steps to reduce that number through land use regulations but enforcement options are far more limited than state laws.

“One of the issues with our land use authority is it’s not really something law enforcement can enforce,” said Gavin Wolny, assistant county attorney.

“Sometimes you have situations where is can be a zoning violation, but legal under state law, so there’s a lot of law enforcement confusion.”

Wolny said the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office has its hands tied when it comes to enforcing local land use rules.

He said the ballot advisory question would put pressure on the state Legislature to reduce the number of marijuana plants legal to grow in residential areas.

“You are giving Pueblo County voters a chance to show and give them an outlet to try to demand a solution to what I think is a difficult problem,” Wolny said.

Commissioner Terry Hart said a vote form the citizens will carry a great deal of impact and support from Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Legislature.

Hart said the landscape of marijuana issues has changed over the years.

“It seems to me like there is a pretty good-sized gapped between the legitimate needs of folks who are trying to utilize marijuana for personal medical need and those who are basically fitting under this huge definition of caregiver,” Hart said.

The proposed ballot question and several others are set to be discussed at a Sept. 7 commissioners’ meeting. The deadline for ballot issues is Sept. 9.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Pueblo County Commissioners Want Home Pot Grows Down From 99 Plants Each To 18
Author: Anthony A. Mestas
Contact: (719) 544-3520
Photo Credit: Ed Andrieski
Website: The Pueblo Chieftain