Commission mulling ban on pot sales

Mesa County commissioners offered a first look Monday at a proposed ordinance that would ban facilities that sell, cultivate, test or manufacture marijuana in unincorporated parts of the county.

Colorado voters approved an amendment to the state constitution in November that allows residents 21 or older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana in the state. Amendment 64 also set timelines for the creation of rules and regulations pertaining to marijuana growth and sales and gave local governments until Oct. 1 to decide who will process applications for marijuana establishments or prohibit those operations within the city, county or town.

Mesa County’s proposed ordinance, which commissioners put through first reading Monday and plan to approve with a second reading at a later meeting, would prohibit the operation of marijuana cultivation, testing and product manufacturing facilities and retail marijuana stores in unincorporated county boundaries if passed. Municipalities in the county will have to pass their own bans, if desired.

Fruita will likely be the next local government to approve such a ban. City Manager Clint Kinney said the Fruita City Council requested a similar ordinance a month ago and one is being drafted for council approval.

Commissioner Steve Acquafresca said he anticipates many Western Slope communities will adopt ordinances similar to the one proposed in Mesa County. He said the county “will exercise its right under Amendment 64” to opt for a ban in order to reflect local opinions. Mesa County voted 55 percent to 45 percent against Amendment 64.

“The preference of the vast majority of this community is not to have recreational sales of marijuana in unincorporated areas of Mesa County,” Acquafresca said.

Mesa County’s ordinance imposes a fine of up to $1,000 a day for each violation, plus a $10 surcharge.


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Commissioners should stop government interference in private lives and businesses and let the free market decide what businesses exist. Pot is no different from alcohol.

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