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Summit County Government

Posted on: March 20, 2014

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on Local Marijuana Use

The Summit BOCC and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office help clarify locations where marijuana use is permitted and provide residents and visitors with guidance related to marijuana in unincorporated Summit County.

For Immediate Release:
March 20, 2014

Contact:Tracy LeClair, Summit County Sheriff’s Office
970-389-2475 (cell); TracyL@co.summit.co.us

Summit County Provides Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
on Local Marijuana Use, Purchase and Possession

The Summit Board of County Commissioners and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office help clarify locations where marijuana use is permitted and provide residents and visitors with guidance related to marijuana in unincorporated Summit County

SUMMIT COUNTY – In response to Colorado’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana use, the Summit Board of County Commissioners and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office have released information to help residents and visitors better understand requirements related to the use, purchase and possession of marijuana in unincorporated Summit County. These “FAQs” will in essence serve as Sheriff’s Office policy regarding the public use of marijuana.

Marijuana use is prohibited in public spaces. Locally, public spaces include public lands (including U.S. Forest Service lands), grounds and outdoor areas, such as public ways, streets, sidewalks, alleys, parking lots and playgrounds; common areas of buildings usually open to the general public; and any other outdoor areas open to the general public.

Consumption of marijuana may be allowed in private locations, provided that it is not prohibited by the property owner. Visitors are encouraged to contact their hotel or rental agency to confirm the applicable policy for marijuana use on the premises.

“Colorado is essentially the first state to fully legalize marijuana, so we’re in uncharted waters here,” Summit County Sheriff John Minor said. “For our residents and visitors who choose to use marijuana, this new policy helps clarify the ways in which they may do so lawfully in the unincorporated areas of Summit County.”

On November 7, 2000, Colorado voters approved Amendment 20 to the State Constitution, allowing the medical use of cannabis. On November 6, 2012, Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, which decriminalized the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana. Amendment 64 also authorized the retail sale of marijuana through a statutory permitting process.

Several permitted medical marijuana locations in Breckenridge and Frisco have already finished the retail permitting process and have been selling retail marijuana to the public since the beginning of 2014. Summit County has had regulations in place since 2013 regarding the home-growing of medical and recreational marijuana.

In order to provide visitors and residents with appropriate guidance regarding marijuana in Summit County, the Sheriff’s Office has provided the following answers to frequently asked questions:

When will I be able to purchase marijuana legally? Marijuana will be available for retail sale beginning January 1, 2014 in several of the municipalities in Summit County. Currently no retail establishments exist in the unincorporated parts of the County.

How old do I need to be to buy marijuana?
You must be 21 years old or older to purchase, possess, display, transport or consume recreational marijuana.

Where can I consume marijuana legally? Consumption of marijuana may be allowed in private locations providing it is not prohibited by the property owner.

The following areas are considered public and consumption of marijuana is not allowed:

• Any public lands, grounds or outdoor areas, such as public ways, streets, sidewalks, alleys, parking lots or playgrounds.

• Common areas of buildings usually open to the general public.

• Any other outdoor areas open to the general public.

How much marijuana can I buy/possess?
Colorado residents aged 21 and older can purchase up to 1 ounce of retail marijuana at a time. Non-residents can purchase up to ¼ ounce at a time. Individuals over the age of 21 may possess up to 1 ounce of retail marijuana.

Can I smoke marijuana at work or in a bar? You cannot burn, smoke, inhale vapors or in any other way consume marijuana in any place of business.

Can I consume marijuana in a vehicle?
You cannot have open containers/packaging or consume marijuana in a motor vehicle located on public property or a public right of way. It is also illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana.

Can I consume marijuana on National Forest lands? It is a federal offense to possess or consume marijuana on federally owned lands. This includes both lands in the White River National Forest and land that is leased from the U.S. Forest Service and located within the boundaries of any of the four ski resorts located in Summit County.

Can I sell marijuana?
Selling marijuana to another person for a price is illegal. It is also illegal to give marijuana to a person under 21 years of age.

Can I take marijuana out of the state? It is illegal to take marijuana across state lines. In addition, possession of any amount of marijuana is strictly prohibited at Denver International Airport.

What are the penalties if I violate marijuana laws?
Penalties range from fines to potential jail sentences. Colorado State Statute and individual jurisdictions each have separate rules and regulations regarding marijuana. Visitors are encouraged to check the websites of the towns in Summit County (i.e., Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne) for their rules.

Can I grow marijuana in a residential property? Marijuana, either medical or recreational, may only be grown in a residence for personal use in accordance with Section 3804.04 of the Summit County Land Use and Development Code (“Development Code”), and may not be sold commercially.

I rent the place where I live. Can I grow for my own personal use?
You must have permission from the property owner and obtain a permit from the County in order to grow.

If I’m growing for my own personal use, how many plants can I have? Six per individual, with no more than 12 plants per household.

I have a caregiver card issued by the State which allows me to grow medical marijuana for others. Can I grow the number of plants that my caregiver card allows?
Per Section 3804.04 of the Development Code, no more than 6 plants per individual and 12 plants per household may be grown, regardless of the number of plants that a caregiver card allows.

Are there limitations on where I grow in my house? Yes. The growing, cultivation and processing of marijuana plants shall be limited to the following areas within the primary residence:

1. Within a detached single-family dwelling unit, marijuana may be grown, cultivated or processed only within a secure, defined, contiguous area not to exceed 150 square feet;

2. Within any residential dwelling unit other than a detached single-family dwelling unit, marijuana may be grown, cultivated or processed only within a secure, defined, contiguous area not to exceed 100 square feet; and,

3. Marijuana shall not be grown, cultivated or processed within the common area or limited common area of any real property that is devoted to a residential use.

4. Marijuana may be grown, cultivated or processed in an outbuilding or a garage associated with a residential structure provided that the area is secure, defined and limited in size in accordance with the provisions above.

How long are licenses and permits valid for Marijuana Business and residential cultivation?
Permits and licenses are valid for one year from the date of approval and must be renewed and inspected annually to continue these activities.

What are the restrictions on where a marijuana business can locate? Can I grow marijuana on agricultural land? Marijuana cannot be cultivated on or sold from A-1 (Agricultural) or Residential properties. Cultivation, retail sales and Medical Marijuana Centers can only locate within the I-1, CG, CN, B-1, B-3 zoning districts and PUD’s which specifically allow the use. Please consult section 3804 of the Summit County Development Code for further information on locating a potential marijuana business.

Are there currently any marijuana businesses operating in Summit County?
At this time, there are no licensed and operating marijuana businesses in unincorporated Summit County. However, there are business operating in the towns of Breckenridge, Frisco and Silverthorne. If you have questions about operating businesses in any of the towns, please contact them directly.

What department can I contact to apply for a Permit or License, or for additional information? You can contact the Planning Department by calling 970-668-4200. Since your marijuana activities may require changes to electrical, plumbing or other changes to a building, please contact the Building Department at 970-668-3170 for questions about Building Permits and construction questions.

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