First was marijuana business. Now? Marijuana grow ops?


FORT LUPTON -- The ink hasn't dried on potential ordinances that set up rules to allow medical and marijuana dispensaries to do business in Fort Lupton,.

Now, city council may place an item on the November ballot to allow marijuana grow operations, too. 

Council has to make a decision by Tuesday, Aug. 31, to get the item on the ballot, according to city clerk Mari Pena. 

Resident Leonard Toews brought up the idea of grow operations during council's Aug. 10 town hall. He called the potential growth of grow operations in town "massive."

"The question is where are we at when we look at that potential," he said. "It's a great area. It's industrial. There are good places to have grows. There is a lot of agricultural DNA in this area."

Mayor Zi Stieber said the city of Pueblo had a huge grow operation.

"They started out at 1 percent and then ratcheted out," Toews said. "Somewhere between 1 and 2 percent of potential business would be interested in coming to this area."

Councilwoman Shannon Rhoda thought extra money from grow operations should go toward the police department, which will be in charge of encforcing whatever ordinances are in place.

"A lot of businesses have cameras that watch the harvest. That's the insider piece," Toews said. "If you're going to spend millions of dollars, chances are you're pretty well-established."

Council's Aug. 31 session is in a town-hall format, meaning there can be no decision. Council can call a regular meeting, though.

The next planned discussion of tweaking and adding the ordinances for medical and retail marijuana is Tuesday, Aug. 17. Council hasn't been able to decide how to choose the four businesses it will allow in town. Stieber favors a  system that includes a lottery and some form of a merit system.  Rhoda was concerned about a potential overlap of fingerprinting duties between the city and the state.


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