Pubdate: Fri, 04 May 2012
Source: Summit Daily News (CO)
Copyright: 2012 Summit Daily News
Author: Caddie Nath


County considering regs to allow grow operations north of

New county regulations currently on the table could allow medical
marijuana businesses to establish large grow operations in the
traditionally agricultural northern parts of the county.

But some landowners in the Lower Blue River Valley aren't thrilled
with the idea of having the medical marijuana industry as a new neighbor.

"One of the huge concerns is security," said Lower Blue resident Kevin
Mastin, who is challenging Karn Stiegelmeier for county commissioner
in the November elections "What seems to have initiated this is they
felt that Breckenridge and Frisco, where the shops are located, it was
too expensive for them to grow. It's kind of like putting a
Breckenridge and Frisco problem onto the other side of the county."

Mastin called commercial grow operations "incompatible" with the type
of agriculture that exists in that part of the county and said he's
frustrated with the county government's failure to provide information
on the proposal to residents in the area.

Mastin said he's not the only one with apprehensions about the
proposed policy, though his neighbors declined to speak with the
Summit Daily on the record.

The county is moving to implement a long-forestalled set of medical
marijuana regulations this year, in the face of a state-imposed
deadline. If the local government hasn't adopted its own policies by
July, it will default to the state's policies.

The regulations are still in the works, but could include mandatory
permits for residential growing as well as allowing commercial
cultivation on agricultural land in the Lower Blue.

County officials say nothing is decided yet.

"(The county commissioners) really don't know which way they want to
go," asst. county manager Thad Noll said. "They want to hear more
public input before they make that decision."

The argument in favor of moving marijuana grow operations to the north
side of the county is one of sustainability.

Currently, local dispensaries, which are required to produce at least
75 percent of the product they sell themselves, are having to use
significant amounts of energy to cultivate on site at the
dispensaries. Some retailers are having to run air conditioning in the
winter to moderate temperature, because opening windows would release
the smell of the product and violate local ordinances.

But dispensary owners, while open to the idea of cultivating on the
north side of the county where they would be unencumbered by odor laws
and the towns' higher costs for grow space, also saw logistical
problems with the idea.

"The stuff they're talking about is fairly large scale,"
Breckenridge's Alpenglow Botanicals owner Charlie Williams said, who
pointed out that a grow operation on the north side of the county
would have to be large and expensive to make it efficient in terms of
electricity and irrigation.

"We would investigate it and look to see if we could get into it,"
Williams said.

The county commissioners will have a public hearing on May 22 to allow
members of the community to comment on the proposed regulations before
they are adopted.
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