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BoCC approves moratorium on medical marijuana dispensary licenses

Medical marijuana regulations are again in a state of flux in Archuleta County.

At their Tuesday meeting, the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners instituted a 60-day moratorium on any pending or new applications for medical marijuana dispensary licenses in Archuleta County.

The moratorium gives county staff time to process information from a Jan. 27 hearing on medical marijuana regulations at the state level, while also allowing staff to make minor changes to the county’s ordinance detailing the process of obtaining a license.

County Attorney Todd Starr said the summary alone from the state’s Jan. 27 hearing was over 100 pages and called medical marijuana in Colorado a “changing landscape.”

The BoCC approved resolution 10-2010 in early October, allowing for some medical marijuana businesses to operate in industrial and commercial areas in Archuleta County.

Starr said he doesn’t anticipate any “sweeping changes” to the regulations, but only language changes which would eliminate “elasticity” in the ordinance.

Currently, there is one legally operating dispensary in the county, and it will not be affected by the moratorium.

Ron Guffey, who said he has a license application pending with Archuleta County, asked the commissioners to consider granting his application before putting the moratorium into effect, saying that he has gone through the entire process with the planning department and has other medical marijuana businesses in Cortez and La Plata County.

Starr cautioned the commissioners against addressing Guffey and his concerns, due to the pending application that they could potentially hear at a later date.

In other news at the meeting, the BoCC appears to be tightening its belt in anticipation of a steep revenue decline in 2012, due to falling property assessment values.

Although approving the waiving of dump fees for 12 cubic yards of waste for Habitat for Humanity, the BoCC held off on approving the purchase of a piece of equipment and accessories for the Road and Bridge Department.

In the decision, all three commissioners spoke of wanting to know more facts about next year’s potential revenue stream before spending large amounts of money this year.

The BoCC told Road and Bridge Superintendent Dave Guilliams and Public Works Director Ken Feyen the possible purchase of new equipment was not out of the question, but that they desired more facts and could possibly make a decision in late April or May.

Guilliams argued an aging fleet with vehicles often out of commission could hinder the county’s ability to complete roadwork planned for the summer.

“I would rather hold off,” said Commissioner John Ranson. “It’s what families are doing, it’s what we have to do.”

Commissioner Michael Whiting echoed Ranson’s sentiment, stating that a 25- to 40-percent reduction in revenue was possible, to which Feyen said the road and bridge department could potentially absorb a 50-percent reduction.

The arguments of Feyen and Guilliams were futile, with Whiting reading a motion to not approve the purchase of the new equipment and its unanimous passage.

The next BoCC meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on April 5 in the courthouse.

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