Summit County hangs on to pot dispensary moratorium
summit daily news
BRECKENRIDGE – The Summit Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously Friday to extend an existing moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated Summit County until June 30.
The resolution, the county’s first of this year, will put decisions regarding the regulation of dispensaries at the county level on hold until the end of the state legislative session, during which current state medical marijuana regulations could be changed.
“It’s clear that there’s going to be more activity on this from the legislature,” Commissioner Thomas Davidson said during the special meeting.
The temporary moratorium, first adopted in late October of 2009, does not allow for the submission or approval of applications for licenses for businesses that sell or grow medical marijuana in the county.
Individual towns each have their own medical marijuana regulations in place.
Even if the moratorium had not passed, new medical marijuana businesses would be unable to get a license from the state until July 1, but having the moratorium in place allows the county to avoid falling under state regulations by not having its own policies in place.
The county does not currently have any applications for new dispensaries. There are no dispensaries or grow sites operating in unincorporated Summit County right now.
The county dispensary ban was initially set to expire in February of last year. It was extended while the state legislature was considering a bill regulating the sale, cultivation and manufacture of medical marijuana and related products. The bill passed in 2010 and the moratorium was extended several more times throughout the year. It was slated to expire on Jan. 25.
But county officials expect to see amendments to the regulatory law during this year’s legislative session, set to begin later this month. They extended the moratorium to avoid having to revise local policies, should the state law be changed in the next few months.
“I think this makes a lot of sense, to figure out the landscape you’re dealing with,” said state Sen. Dan Gibbs. “It’s a moving target.”
Gibbs will be sworn in as a county commissioner Tuesday morning, having run unopposed for Bob French’s seat in the November election.
Places in unincorporated Summit County where dispensaries might be allowed to operate are limited, as the county hopes to keep them confined to industrial areas, county staff members said during the meeting Friday. Copper and Keystone, the two biggest commercial parts of the county both have asked not to have dispensaries placed there.
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