Eagle targets marijuana caregivers
EAGLE, Colorado – Eagle has waded into Colorado’s medical marijuana debate in a couple of contentious rules.
In separate split votes, the town has decided to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in specific areas and nixed a plan from one such operation to expand to include a growing operation. Now the town is looking at regulations for medical marijuana caregivers in residential areas.
According to Eagle Town Attorney Ed Sands, the new state medical marijuana legislation does not address local regulation of caregivers. He notes that while the law does stipulate that primary caregivers must have a “meaningful relationship” with their patients, that expands beyond simply providing them with cannabis. Additionally, caregivers can have no more than five patients at any one time.
The central issue for Eagle is how to regulate caregiver operations, and specifically how to direct them out of residential neighborhoods.
“We are concerned that growing a large number of marijuana plants in homes in residential areas creates dangers of fire, mold, mildew, burglary and more,” said Sands.
Sands noted that the town must use caution in wording its regulations, particularly because the ballot issue that voters approved to legalize medical marijuana – Amendment 20 – provides a constitutional right for caregivers to cultivate.
But town board members were adamant that while they recognized that caregivers have been granted constitutional rights to grow medical marijuana, they did not believe that residential neighborhoods were the appropriate place to practice that right.
“If you are going to be a caregiver, be a caregiver where the town says it’s appropriate, not in residential areas,” said town board member Scott Turnipseed last week. “I just don’t think we are being unreasonable to try to limit the number of plants in a household.”
But as they discussed the issue further, town board members noted the particulars become more clouded. For instance, if a husband was acting as a caregiver to grow medical marijuana for his sick wife, should the town force them to take that activity to an industrial district? Instead, the town opted to outline some basic criteria for medical marijuana caregivers:
• A maximum of two medical marijuana cardholders per household can cultivate at a single residence. Additionally, cardholders would be limited to cultivating a maximum of six plants each for a total of 12 plants per residence.
• Caregivers who are cultivating marijuana for patients who do not live in the same residence must locate growing operations in areas the town has designated for medical marijuana dispensaries.
With these basic provisions in mind, Sands said he will draft regulations for the town board to formally consider. The provisions will be the subject of future, advertised public hearings.