Vote on rural pot grows in Routt County prepped for Nov. 8 ballot | CraigDailyPress.com
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Vote on rural pot grows in Routt County prepped for Nov. 8 ballot

County voters could see pot on ballot

Marijuana issues in Routt County
Marijuana

County meetings on rural pot grows

Routt County Planning Commission held its initial work session on the possibility of issuing permits for marijuana grow facilities in the county on July 21. Additional public meetings are listed below.

• Aug. 9, – Initial work session with Board of County Commissioners (BOC)

• Oct. 6, – Consideration of adoption with Planning Commission (PC) (if a second work session is needed, it will take place on this date.)

• Oct. 25, Consideration of adoption with BOC (if a second work session is needed, it will take place on this date.)

• Nov. 17 - Consideration of adoption with PC (if a second work session was needed.)

• Dec. 13 - Consideration of adoption with BOC (if a second work session was required)

Routt County voters may get the chance in November to let the Board of County Commissioners know how they feel about marijuana growing operations. The vote would come in the form of a ballot question that would allow the county, as permitted by state statute, to collect a 5 percent excise tax on the first sale of unprocessed marijuana grown in rural areas of the county.

County Attorney Erick Knaus confirmed July 25 he was — at the direction of county commissioners — preparing to inform County Clerk Kim Bonner by the July 29 deadline of the county’s intent to place the excise tax question on the ballot. He has until the end of August to submit a formal resolution.

County meetings on rural pot grows

Routt County Planning Commission held its initial work session on the possibility of issuing permits for marijuana grow facilities in the county on July 21. Additional public meetings are listed below.

• Aug. 9, – Initial work session with Board of County Commissioners (BOC)

• Oct. 6, – Consideration of adoption with Planning Commission (PC) (if a second work session is needed, it will take place on this date.)

• Oct. 25, Consideration of adoption with BOC (if a second work session is needed, it will take place on this date.)

• Nov. 17 – Consideration of adoption with PC (if a second work session was needed.)

• Dec. 13 – Consideration of adoption with BOC (if a second work session was required)

There’s just one catch: Routt County already has a moratorium on all forms of marijuana businesses. The implication is, that could change. The intent of putting the question on the ballot this fall is to have a tax in place should commissioners change their position, lift the moratorium and begin hearing permit applications for grow facilities. Waiting for another election cycle could represent lost revenue.

“This is something I brought up shortly after I was sworn into office and based on my experience with the city” of Steamboat Springs, Commission Chairwoman Cari Hermacinski said. “This was something I thought could work in the county, as well, at least for grow facilities. I voted against renewing the moratorium,” early this year.

Now, with a planned series of public hearings about permitting pot growing facilities in the county, including areas zoned agriculture/forestry, commissioners Tim Corrigan, Doug Monger and Hermacinski emphasized Monday that, though there is not yet any consensus to permit grow facilities, there is consensus to explore the idea.

“I’d expect we’d have robust public comment on this,” Corrigan said.

There is no talk of permitting retail or caregiver pot facilities in the county.

Hermacinski said Monday the intent is that proceeds of the excise tax would be devoted primarily to three areas of the county budget linked to marijuana production: detox, public safety and roads.

“We want to make sure the negative impacts do have a funding stream, if we allow it as a land use in our county,” she said.

Knaus pointed out that no question seeking to authorize an excise tax has ever failed in Colorado, and Monger responded, “It’s because somebody else is going to be paying for it.”

State law regarding the marijuana excise tax provides that, “In addition to any sales tax … each county in the state is authorized to levy, collect and enforce a county excise tax on the first sale or transfer of unprocessed retail marijuana by a retail marijuana cultivation facility authorized by the county.”

The exceed tax may not exceed 5 percent.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1 To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1


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