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Commissioners extend three month pot moratorium

WALSENBURG— In a unanimous vote, the three Huerfano County commissioners on Wednesday morning extended the moratorium on all commercial marijuana growth and sales, both for medical and recreational use, for three additional months. In August of 2013, the commissioners had passed resolution 13-21, which placed the moratorium on all things involving commercial pot, and which was set to expire at the end of this month. This moratorium only affects the unincorporated areas of Huerfano County, not the towns of Walsenburg or La Veta, who are drafting up their own regulations on growing and selling marijuana. The commissioners then directed county planner Steve Channel and the Planning and Zoning commission to draft up possible regulations that could be adopted at the end of the moratorium, with the eye towards allowing commercial indoor grow facilities (greenhouses.) Retail storefront sales would still be banned. Commissioner Max Vezzani, who made the proposal, also asked Channel to look into what kind of revenue the county could make if it allowed commercial grows. In a related resolution, Vezzani also moved the county follow Denver County’s lead, and allow only twelve marijuana plants per property, instead of the six plants per adult rule as allowed under the state-wide Amendment 64. Vezzani noted that under Amendment 64, a house or property could have five or six adults all living there, and each could grow up to six pot plants, which gets it pretty close to a commercial-sized operation. The resolution limiting the number to twelve plants per property also passed unanimously. It was carefully pointed out that these marijuana plants are for personal use only, which is legal statewide, and not for commercial sale. The commissioners made their deliberations and decisions before a packed audience, who waited in silent tension as the commissioners dealt with routine county business before getting to what everyone was waiting for. There was an excited buzz from the audience as the commissioners made themselves clear, and then there was a rush for the exits when it was over, followed by animated discussions in the hallway. In other business, the commissioners approved a resolution for adopting a process for changing street names in the Cuchara area, which has a plethora of Aspen Ways and Aspen Streets— which is confusing for emergency responders, and dangerous if there were a disaster in the area. Name changes will be coming soon.

Bertha Trujillo

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