CO: Cortez Council Rejects Marijuana Grow In Industrial Park


A proposed marijuana grow operation in Cortezs industrial park will not be getting approval from the city council anytime soon.

The city council held a special work session Tuesday to discuss the possibility of changing the city code to allow a marijuana grow facility to set up shop in the industrial park. City staff in several departments had been researching the potential impact of such a business since June, and Cortez Police Chief Roy Lane finished the research period by presenting his departments findings at the workshop.

The council voted 4-3 not to change city codes and allow the proposed grow operation.

After talking with police departments in several other towns, Lane concluded that he likely would have to hire more people to inspect a grow facility and enforce state regulations.

And if the city codes were changed, there could soon be more than one facility. Since the research project started, the city has been approached by at least two other people about starting grow facilities.

If we have three grow facilities in this community, I can guarantee you that I cannot have the manpower to look at those facilities the way they need to be looked at, Lane said.

In Cortez, one police officer, Boyd Neagle, is in charge of alcohol and marijuana compliance, in addition to his patrol duties. State personnel inspect some of Cortezs marijuana shops two or three times a year, but Lane said most of the burden falls on the city because the state enforcement division is understaffed.

Lane also was apprehensive about the cost of a grow facility. Because a grow facility, unlike a marijuana shop, would not necessarily sell its product within city limits, it wouldnt generate sales tax revenue unless the city created an excise tax on marijuana, Lane said.

City Manager Shane Hale suggested putting an excise tax on the ballot for the next election.

In the meantime, Mayor Pro-tem Ty Keel pointed out that the future of the marijuana business is uncertain.

We have an attorney general (nominee Jeff Sessions) coming into office at the federal level who is very anti-marijuana, he said. Were not sure what the federal climates going to be like in the next six months, and I think we need to really be cognizant of that.

Still, some council members were in favor of drafting an ordinance to change the city code.

Its a business, council member Orly Lucero said. My mind is to give the businessmen a chance.

Council members Tim Miller and Jill Carlson agreed. Council member Shawna McLaughlin said she would be in favor of changing the city code if Cortez had an excise tax, but since it could be two years before that becomes a possibility, she decided to vote against the change. Keel, council member Bob Archibeque and Mayor Karen Sheek also voted it down.

I just think the cost of doing it is too high, Sheek said.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Cortez Council Rejects Marijuana Grow In Industrial Park
Author: Stephanie Alderton
Contact: (970)565-8527
Photo Credit: Associated Press
Website: The Journal