City of Grand Junction eases penalty for minors with pot

People under 21 who are caught with less than 2 ounces of marijuana now face a petty offense instead of a misdemeanor charge in Grand Junction, according to an ordinance passed by Grand Junction city councilors on Wednesday night. The change falls in line with regulations outlined by the state’s Amendment 64, which allows limited marijuana use for adults 21 and older.

“This is really a housekeeping measure,” Grand Junction City Attorney John Shaver said.

Fines and punishments are downgraded with a petty offense, with up to a $100 fine and up to 24 hours of public service. Previously, a minor caught with up to 1 ounce of marijuana faced a fine of up to $250 and loss of a driver’s license for three month, after a first offense.

Also on Wednesday night, councilors unanimously voted to increase the threshold for theft charges in Grand Junction’s code to align with Colorado state statutes.

Thefts of items valued at $2,000 or less now are considered a misdemeanor. Previously, theft of items valued at $1,000 or more were considered a felony charge.

Councilors also:

■ Approved by a 5-0 vote to apply for a Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District grant of $1 million to develop the Colorado Law Enforcement Training Center. The new facility, which includes a driving track and an instructor’s tower, is off 32 Road near the intersection of U.S. Highway 50.

Future phases of the center are expected to cost $1.4 million. Colorado Mesa University is expected to offer a 10-percent cash match to be eligible for the grant. The city of Grand Junction and Mesa County are expected to split remaining costs.

■  Voted 5-0 to extend for three more years a sales tax exemption for aviation companies in Grand Junction that install aircraft parts. Currently, only West Star Aviation takes advantage of the current sales tax exemption, but other businesses at the Grand Junction Regional Airport could also use the exemption.

■ Approved, 5-0, the transfer of ownership and maintenance of the Wilsea Drain, near 23¾ and G roads, from the Grand Junction Drainage District to the city of Grand Junction. The transfer is occurring because of new development by Community Hospital. Pipe maintenance is expected to cost $3,171 per year, and improvements of $7,600 are needed in 2014. Improvements of $25,200 are needed in 2016, according to the city.

■  Voted, 5-0, to spend $86,783 to repair sections of the Colorado Riverfront Trail that were damaged by flooding in 2012. All Concrete Solutions of Grand Junction provided the winning bid and will complete the work.


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