County explores rules for pot shops

Posted 2/9/10

Douglas County Commissioners are figuring out how to regulate medical marijuana while similar efforts are underway throughout the state. County …

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County explores rules for pot shops


Douglas County Commissioners are figuring out how to regulate medical marijuana while similar efforts are underway throughout the state.

County officials are preparing zoning regulations that will decide where medical marijuana dispensaries can be located.

Michael Cairy, zoning compliance supervisor for the county, said the regulations would put medical marijuana dispensaries in general industrial districts. The county planning commission and the county commissioners would also review each proposed dispensary to make sure it met certain guidelines such as set-backs and buffers from churches and daycares at 1,000 feet, and being two-miles from private, elementary, middle and senior high schools.

Cairy said the draft regulations should be prepared next week and ready for review and further input from various county departments, home owners associations, etc. in preparation for a March 22 public hearing before the county’s planning commission.

Cairy said the county wants these regulations in place before its moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries expires on April 10. The moratorium was enacted to allow these regulations to be developed.

Douglas County is only one government agency working on such regulations. A partnership of town officials from Douglas County communities such as Castle Rock and Parker are working with county officials to make sure regulations are consistent within Douglas County.

Cairy said the group is also watching the Colorado Legislature for potential changes in state law regarding medical marijuana dispensaries. Senate Bill 109, which addresses the doctor-patient relationship in regards to getting access to medical marijuana, is working its way through legislative committees now.

Another bill, sponsored by Rep. Tom Massey and Sen. Chris Romer, is due to be introduced soon and would require dispensaries to opperate as nonprofits.

A case regarding the Centennial’s closure of the Cannamart dispensary is working its way through district court. At issue is the city’s right to use federal law to trump state law in prohibiting the operation of a dispensary.

Douglas County’s approach to controlling medical marijuana dispensaries through zoning has precedence in Eagle County.

Although the proposal is not “actual regulation” yet, Cairy said Eagle County’s proposed regulation has made it through the planning commission and will be presented to their commissioners on Feb. 23. Cairy said the Douglas County Commissioners “seemed to like this model.”

Eagle County is home to more than 10 towns and unincorporated communities, including Avon, Arrowhead, Basalt, Beaver Creek, Bachelor Gulch, Eagle, Eagle-Vail, Edwards, Gypsum, Minturn, Red Cliff, Vail and Wolcott.

Bob Narracci, planning manager for Eagle County, said the permanent regulation document is on the county Web site, and the process was time consuming, but this stage will display knowledge of where dispensaries can go. Visit for detailed regulations and vicinity maps.

Key Dates

Feb. 23: Eagle County Commissioner review regulation Douglas County views as the model

March 22: Douglas County proposed regulations go to public hearing before planning commission

April 10: Douglas County’s moratorium on the opening of medical marijuana dispsensaries expires


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