Delta Commissioners To Ban Growing, Selling Marijuana

Jan 18, 2013

On Tuesday (1/22), Delta County Commissioners will further discuss an ordinance that would block certain parts of Amendment 64, the constitutional amendment that makes recreational marijuana legal in Colorado. KVNF’s Marty Durlin reports on the ins and outs of marijuana legislation at the local level.

Delta County Attorney Christine Knight was charged with creating an ordinance to ban commercial marijuana cultivation, manufacturing, testing and retail establishments in the unincorporated areas of the county. The Commissioners say the measure is necessary to promote public welfare and safety. They say they’re representing the will of voters, since the County voted 54-46 percent against the amendment. Durlin asked county attorney Knight what will be legal in Delta County.

"Let’s say I’m a person who wants to smoke recreational marijuana. Can I grow my own and smoke it?"

Knight: "Yes."

"Yes. Anywhere in the county?"

Knight: "Well, no. It allows any individual over 21 years old to grow up to six plants of marijuana, only three of which can be budding at any given time. And pretty much it provides that growing must be indoors – certainly not on federal land because it’s still illegal under federal law, but it can’t be right out in your front yard, either. I think if you grew it in a greenhouse, it would be acceptable. But it’s not supposed to be out where people can see it."

"And now what if my neighbor grew some marijuana, could they give it to me?"

Knight: "Yes."

"Could they sell it to me?"

Knight: "No."

"Now, where can I smoke it? I can smoke it in my own home."

Knight: "You can definitely smoke it in your own home. The law does say you cannot smoke out in the open, in public places, in parks, near schools. It’s also true that you cannot smoke in a building where the owner of that building does not want you to smoke. So for example if you rent, and your landlord says I don’t want any smoking on the premises, you could not smoke in those premises."

Delta County, like neighboring Mesa and Montrose Counties, opted out of the state’s medical marijuana law in 2010. Not all municipalities opting out of Amendment 64 specify penalties, but Delta County’s provides for a $600 fine per offense. Although there’s no specific penalty for buying, selling might still incur criminal penalties.

Finally, Knight answered another pesky question. If you happen to harvest more from your homegrown plants than the ounce you’re allowed, what happens?

"You can keep what you grow, even if it’s excess of an ounce."

The commissioners will likely approve the measure at their regular meeting on February 4th, and it will immediately go into effect.