Though Colorado counties will be able to regulate and tax marijuana-related businesses beginning this fall, Jefferson County will not be among them.
The Jefferson County commissioners voted 3-0 to ban those types of businesses newly allowed under voter-approved Amendment 64.
Under the new law, beginning Oct. 1, cities and counties can start accepting permit applications for marijuana businesses, including cultivation facilities, testing facilities, product manufacturing facilities and retail stores.
Commissioners Faye Griffin, Casey Tighe and Donald Rosier all voted to approve the county ban, which calls for all such businesses to not be allowed within unincorporated Jeffco until Feb. 1, 2015.
“Waiting until 2015 would allow us to see how this is going in other municipalities,” Assistant County Attorney Eric Butler said.
Butler said the state still had many portions of the Amendment 64 recreational marijuana law to work out, and a November election to determine how the product will be taxed. He added that since Jeffco did not allow medicinal marijuana, the county did not even have that framework to build from.
Jeffco District Attorney Pete Weir called the ban “a thoughtful and prudent approach” to help protect children.
Public comment on the proposed ban was mixed, with a few members of the audience asking for the ban to be made permanent. Even proponents of recreational marijuana like Colorado NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) board member Shawn Hauser seemed to accept that at least a temporary moratorium to sort out business taxes and regulations was appropriate.
“Opting into (Amendment 64) is for the best for public safety,” Hauser said, suggesting that the ban’s length be shortened.
Colorado Tobacco and Education and Prevention Alliance Executive Director Bob Doyle said he group would like to see the ban made permanent, to avoid marijuana becoming mass merchandized.
“It’s not impacting home use and home growing, but it does prohibit retail marijuana,” Doyle said.
Not allowing marijuana businesses will also mean not receiving marijuana tax revenues. Butler told the commissioners that by instituting the ban, Jeffco would also not be eligible for marijuana impact funds through the state.