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Marijuana regulations




Medical

The following information only applies to businesses operating in unincorporated Garfield County. If you are interested in locating a business in a town or city within Garfield County (Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, New Castle, Silt, Rifle, or Parachute), you must contact that local government for information on its application process.

Garfield County only allows Optional Premises Cultivation Operations (OPCOs or grow operations) for residents in unincorporated areas. The county does not allow Medical Marijuana Centers (commonly called dispensaries) or Infused-Product Manufacturers.

Beginning June 21, 2010, the county was placed under a moratorium on new marijuana businesses. On July 1, 2012, that moratorium was lifted, and operators are now allowed to establish a new OPCO in unincorporated Garfield County if the OPCO complies with state and local regulations. All new OPCOs must satisfy all local regulations before starting operations. Existing businesses, those OPCOs that were operating in unincorporated Garfield County before the county's moratorium, should refer to the FAQs below for steps existing businesses must follow.
  
There are two types of local regulations that OPCOs must comply with: land use regulations and a local verification process.

Land Use Regulations
On June 18, 2012, the Garfield County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved land use regulations that regulate OPCOs for Medical Marijuana. These new regulations can be found in Section 7-903 of the Garfield County Land Use and Development Code. They are administered by the Garfield County Community Development Department.

Local Verification Process
The BOCC has also approved Resolution 2012-52, which implements a local verification process for all OPCOs in Garfield County. The county will not issue a local OPCO license. However, operators will be required to submit a local application at the same time as they submit a state license application. The OPCO will also be required to go through the Local Verification Process, described below, in order to receive local approval for its State OPCO license. Local applications can be obtained through the Garfield County Clerk and Recorder's Office.

Neither the land use regulations, nor the local verification process apply to “patients” and “primary caregivers” as those terms are defined by Colorado law.
Recreational

On October 1, 2013, Ordinance No. 2013-2 became effective, which prohibited the Operation of Marijuana Cultivation Facilities, Marijuana Product Manufacturing Facilities, Marijuana Testing Facilities or Retail Marijuana Stores within the unincorporated boundaries of Garfield County.

This ordinance does not inhibit one to be able to grow for oneself and another, consistent with provisions of Amendment 64, Colorado Constitution Article XVIII, Section 16.
Health impacts

Know the facts and know the state laws on marijuana health impacts. Find out more from Garfield County Public Health.
Frequently asked questions

This is a list of frequently asked questions to provide guidance and information. It is being provided for informational purposes only and does not provide any guarantees to any specific businesses. 

Can I grow “Recreational” marijuana in Garfield County?
Amendment 64 allows for the growing of 6 plants for recreational marijuana use for an individual and another. The county prohibits the commercial or co-operative growing of recreational marijuana.

Where can I grow Medical Marijuana in Garfield County?
In order to have an OPCO in the County, the OPCO must be located in either a Commercial or an Industrial Zone District. The county's Official Zone District Map can be consulted to find the zoning of your property.

Can I sell recreational or Medical Marijuana in Garfield County?
No. Not in unincorporated Garfield County. Each incorporated municipality has their own regulations.

Can I make marijuana infused products in Garfield County?
No. Not in unincorporated Garfield County. Each incorporated municipality has their own regulations.

I want to start an OPCO within a City or Town in Garfield County. Do the Garfield County regulations apply within City or Town boundaries?
No.

Can I grow Hemp in Garfield County?
No. Not in unincorporated Garfield County. Each incorporated municipality has their own regulations.

When did the land use regulations for Medical Marijuana become effective? July 1, 2012

When did the local application requirements become effective?
July 1, 2012.

I want to start a new OPCO in unincorporated Garfield County, what process do I have to follow?
You must submit a local application either at the same time as you submit a state license application, or after submitting your state license application. You must also contact the Garfield County Community Development Department to discuss the local land use approval process which will require a Major Impact Review and zoning.

If I want to start a new OPCO, what zone districts can I establish my new business?
The county's zone districts that allow an OPCO include the Commercial Limited, Commercial General and Industrial zone districts. This requires a Major Impact Review Process which is described in the county's Land Use Code.

An OPCO is not permitted within my Garfield County zone district. Can I change the zoning of my property to allow me to apply for an OPCO in Garfield County?
Maybe. Article 4 of the county's Land Use Code describes the review process required if you should decide to pursue a request for a zone district change.

How do I file an application with Garfield County for a land use permit for a new business?
You will need to contact the Garfield County Community Development Department and they will arrange a pre-application conference to familiarize you with the requirements for an application. You may also review the process for a Major Impact Review and review standards located in Article 7 of the county's land use regulations. 

I want to start a new OPCO.  Can I operate an outdoor OPCO in Garfield County?
No. See Section 7-903(C) of the Land Use and Development Code.  

I have an existing OPCO located in unincorporated Garfield County.  Am I required to submit a local application?
Yes. You must file a local application with the Garfield County Clerk and Recorder's Office no later than August 1, 2012. Failure to submit a local application by this deadline may jeopardize your Local Verification.

What is the Local Verification Process?
After you submit your local application, the county will request concurrent review of your application by the state. When the state is satisfied that you have met all state requirements, the MMED will send a conditional license to the county. 

When the county either receives the conditional license or your local application, you will be scheduled for a noticed public hearing before the BOCC. If you are successful in obtaining local verification from the board at this hearing the county will let the MMED know that the county approved the OPCO's application.

What do I have to prove at the Local Verification Hearing?
If you are an existing business, you will have to show that you began operating in the county before June 21, 2010, and that you are in compliance with all state Medical Marijuana laws and regulations. If you are a new business, you will have to show that you have local land use approval for your OPCO location and that you are or will be in compliance with all State Medical Marijuana laws and regulations.     

I have an existing OPCO located in unincorporated Garfield County.  Am I required to comply with the new land use regulations?
Maybe. If you are an existing business that has received a Local Verification from the county which includes a finding that you were in operation prior to the June 21, 2010 moratorium, you may be permitted to continue operating as a legal non-conforming land use.

You must talk to the Garfield County Community Development Department immediately if you are going to seek this status. If you are successful in obtaining this designation, your OPCO will be allowed to continue in its current status but it is not permitted to expand. If you are not successful, you will need to 1) cease operations of your OPCO immediately and 2) apply for a land use approval in an appropriate zone district.

Do I have to have a license to operate an OPCO in Garfield County?  Yes. You must have a State OPCO license to operate in the county. 

How do I get a local license?
Garfield County will not issue “local licenses.”  Instead, operators must go through the Local Verification Process as part of obtaining a state OPCO license.

I want to start a new OPCO.  Can I sell or supply Medical Marijuana from my OPCO to a Medical Marijuana Center outside of Garfield County? 
No. See Section 7-903(D)(2) of the Land Use and Development Code.

I want to relocate an existing OPCO within the County.  Do I have to get county approval?
Yes. If you are a new operation that has received land use approval for your current location, you will have to obtain a new land use permit for the new location. If you are relocating an existing OPCO (that was in existence prior to the moratorium), you must comply with the land use regulations and obtain a land use permit for the new location. In addition, the MMED requires you to file a Change of Location form and the county requires you provide a copy of the State's form and attachments to the Clerk and Recorder as local approval is required as well

You may not relocate a legal, non-conforming land use to another non-conforming location.  

Does the county approve changes in ownership?
The State MMED approves changes in ownership. However, the county does require that you submit notice of the Change of Ownership to the county. Forms are available from the Clerk and Recorder.


 
 
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