The Fremont County Board of Commissioners has set the first round of meetings to deal with medical marijuana licensing (MMJ) in Fremont County after the application process began late last summer. Among the public hearings set was one for January 13th at 10 a.m. on an Optional Premises Cultivation License for medical marijuana proposed as an indoor greenhouse grow at 1508 Fremont Street in Penrose. The location is the former Apple Shed business.
At the December 9th regular meeting of the Commissioners the Board also voted to schedule a special meeting at 9:30 a.m., January 5th for the purpose of reviewing four applications for county MMJ licenses. The four sites already have existing state licenses to grow medical marijuana. The sites include JMC Enterprises (dba) Fremont Cannabis at 1505 Elm Avenue in Cañon City; Today’s Health Care at 1934 ‘C’ Street in Penrose; High Mountain Medz (dba) Levity Wellness at 3000 County Road 103 ‘B’ south of Florence; and The Organic Seed (dba) Cannasseur at 1785 Kit Carson Trail in the Copper Gulch area southwest of Cañon City.
District 3 Commissioner Ed Norden noted that there is a distinct difference the way the applications will be administered. He said because the Apple Shed location is for a newly proposed MMJ operation the applicant will have to go through a full public hearing process. Because the other four applications set for review at the January 5th special meeting already have their state MMJ licenses, they will not be subject to a public hearing but will appear for a detailed review before the Board of Commissioners. Norden said however that written comment from citizens is welcome for the four existing MMJ operations. Letters or e-mails should be sent to the Fremont County Planning and Zoning Department at 615 Macon Avenue, Cañon City, CO 81212. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fremont County Budget and Finance Officer Sunny Bryant shared some revenue numbers regarding marijuana which had been requested at the previous meeting. Bryant said in 2013 medical marijuana sales taxes resulted in revenues of $39,960 and that so far in 2014 the MMJ sales taxes have yielded $55,819. She said in 2015 the county is anticipating combined revenues of $276,000 from MMJ sales tax collections and the county permit fees.
During the open public comment portion of the December 9th meeting the Board heard more citizen concerns about marijuana. Rich Bandlow who lives at Cotopaxi said marijuana is out of control in Fremont County and that people have lost all confidence in local government. He said the rule of law is under attack with two forces at work. He said those include licensed marijuana growers and those who are growing marijuana illegally. Bandlow said the county needs to look at local inspection and enforcement. Becky Girdler complained again about marijuana growers in the Copper Gulch area saying she believes the water haulers to marijuana grows need to be examined.
In other business at the December 9th Commissioners meeting the Board:
- Appointed Heidi Anderson of Royal Gorge Rafting as a new member of the Fremont County Tourism Council;
- Approved a resolution reappointing Matt Koch as the County Surveyor for the next four years since Koch did not place his name onto the November election ballot;
- Honored Deputy County Assessor Marty Keen as the Employee of the Year;
- Honored outgoing County Treasurer Pat McFarland for her 21 years of service to the county including the past eight years as the elected County Treasurer;
- Approved adoption of a new county logo and seal that offers a historical depiction of John C. Fremont surveying the Royal Gorge, Arkansas River, and the Sangre De Cristo Mountains;
- Awarded a bid to H.W. Houston Construction for renovation of the 4th floor of the Fremont County Judicial Building into space for the new Combined Regional Communications Dispatch Center. The renovation bid price is $649,943;
- Heard a citizen complaint from Terry Beragree against the recent Board decision to license building contractors. Beragree said it amounts to too much government and that the county should look at the quality of their construction not how much they know;
- Set a public hearing on January 13th at 10 a.m. for a zone change from Ag Rural Zone to Ag Suburban Zone for Bill Kerr and Tim Ritter properties just east of the intersection of Elm Avenue and Willow Street in Lincoln Park;
- Set another public hearing on January 13th at 10 a.m. for the Royal Gorge Paintball facility. Michael Pond wants to operate the paintball recreational facility next to his Royal Gorge heli-pad sightseeing helicopter business on Eight Mile Hill west of Cañon City.