Medical marijuana: Park County plan makes home grows open to warrantless inspection

Earlier this month, Park County commissioners proposed an ordinance that would put onerous restrictions on home medical marijuana grows.

In addition, county officials would be granted unfettered access to such operations.

Currently, caregivers are allowed to grow in commercial, industrial and residential areas throughout Park County. The proposed ordinance would restrict growing in residential areas to primary residences and require caregivers to prove full-time residence in a house. The idea, commissioners say, is to avoid having people use vacant homes as grow facilities.

Citing a concern for public safety, the commissioners would also require anyone growing medical marijuana in Park County to make his or her grow available to the fire department or county employees at any time, without a warrant. In addition, the ordinance would require that there be no signs of a growing operation outside of a designated grow room, which cannot encompass more than 150 square feet in a single-family home or 100 square feet in a multi-family unit. That includes any grow materials or supplies left out, smells or "fugitive light" escaping from a grow room, as well as "undue traffic." And finally, all grows must be built in accordance with local fire, electrical, water and sewer regulations.

Not meeting any of these stipulations could mean a fine of $1,000 for every day that the violation occurs.

Attorneys for Park County have said that they fear a clash with state laws if the regulations are passed, as noted in a February 10 story in Park County's weekly newspaper, The Flume. The state constitution allows for patients to grow up to six plants for themselves in their homes and to be caregivers for as many as five patients, with a total of fifteen plants in bloom and fifteen in a vegetative state at any given time.

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However, the City of Denver imposed similar restrictions last year that limited grows to a total of twelve plants. So far, that ordinance has not been challenged in court.

Calls to commissioners this week were not immediately returned. However, they've asked for public comment and say they will continue to work on the proposal into next month. Comments can be sent to teisenman@parkco.us.

More from our Marijuana archive:"Medical marijuana seizure letters: 22 shops shut, five enforcement actions" and "THC driving bill: Schedule I and II drug additions broaden rejected measure."

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