Samples of pot-infused edibles are readied for THC potency testing at state-licensed marijuana testing lab Steep Hill Halent of Colorado on March 31, 2015 in Denver. (Joe Amon, The Denver Post)

Jeffco to allow marijuana testing labs, but ban remains on sales, grows

Final vote to allow marijuana testing labs in unincorporated Jefferson County will be likely be Nov. 17 for laws that will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016

GOLDEN — Jefferson County staff will begin to draft ordinances to allow marijuana testing facilities, but ban all other aspects of the retail marijuana industry, including sales, manufacturing and cultivation facilities.

The ordinances will pertain only to the unincorporated areas of the county, which have not yet allowed any retail marijuana businesses to operate thanks to a moratorium that was put in place in 2013 and extended last year. The moratorium expires Jan. 1, 2016.

Jefferson County Commissioners Don Rosier, Casey Tighe and Libby Szabo gave county staff directions during staff briefings Tuesday morning and had met several times previously to discuss the issue.

At those meetings, the commissioners quickly decided that they would not seriously pursue allowing retail pot sales in the unincorporated areas. The commissioners discussed cultivation and manufacturing, but ultimately decided to ask staff to seek a ban on those activities.

“I think we need to start slowly and this would be a humongous jump,” Szabo said during the briefing.

Rosier was the first to bring testing facilities to the table earlier this year. The ordinance would only allow testing labs — which test pot for pesticides, fungi and the potency of edibles — on land that already allows other laboratories.

An additional restriction regarding odors emanating from labs could be included in the ordinance and is something staff will explore before public notices go out in September.

Rosier previously said he felt the testing facilities would fill a need since cities such as Lakewood, Arvada and Golden have banned retail marijuana. He also said it would bring in high-paying jobs.

The ordinances would first be read at a public hearing Oct. 27 with a final vote coming Nov. 17. The new laws would go into effect Jan. 1, 2016.

Tighe remarked that allowing testing facilities would be a good start to further explore the rest of the industry.

“I think it’s easier to open the door than close it,” he said.

Joe Vaccarelli: 303-954-2396, jvaccarelli@denverpost.com or twitter.com/joe_vacc

This story was first published on DenverPost.com