Cortez council plans to review marijuana ordinance

Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016 4:36 PM
Marijuana plants flourish under the lights at a grow house in Denver.

The Cortez City Council plans a workshop on marijuana regulations during a special meeting on Tuesday.

Earlier this year, a Cortez resident requested that the council amend the city code to allow a marijuana grow operation in the Industrial Park. City staff has been conducting research since June to find out what impact such a change would have on city finances, job creation, the police department and other areas. Tuesday’s work session, scheduled to begin at about 6:40 p.m., will review the research findings so far, focusing on police chief Roy Lane’s presentation.

The last work session the council held regarding the issue was on June 28. During Tuesday’s work session, they will go over the minutes from that meeting and the various topics the city agreed to research. The main focus will be on how the proposed change to city code would affect the police department’s patrol duties and their ability to adequately monitor all the city’s grow facilities. Right now one officer, Boyd Neagle, is in charge of compliance for both marijuana and alcohol facilities. In June, the city also had several questions regarding inspection fees for grow facilities, and whether a re-inspection fee should be added if the city code is changed.

City employees from different departments have been tasked with researching each aspect of the marijuana issue.

“Staff requested a few months of data gathering to be sure that we were presenting good data versus too small of a snapshot,” city manager Shane Hale said in his memorandum for Tuesday’s agenda.

During the meeting, the council will also discuss the new City Hall dedication, an update on airport capital projects for 2017, a letter from the Bridge Shelter, the minutes from the Planning and Zoning Board meeting on Nov. 1 and the minutes from the four most recently released Montezuma County meetings.