(Denver Post file)

Centennial, Arapahoe County at odds over pot-growing rules

CENTENNIAL — Arapahoe County and Centennial are at odds over rules governing people who grow marijuana for personal use.

The county has proposed a code amendment that would prohibit marijuana growing within 1,000 feet of residential areas. It would also ban marijuana clubs. County commissioners have already banned recreational marijuana shops in unincorporated parts of the county.

The county wants to push marijuana growers in unincorporated parts of Arapahoe County to the agricultural areas, away from city borders, explained county attorney Ron Carl.

But Centennial City Council opposes the county amendment, saying the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office has not had any complaints regarding people’s personal grow operations in their homes.

“It’s looking like a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist,” said Centennial Mayor Pro Tem Ken Lucas.

Council voted May 19 to oppose the amendment.

Centennial has already banned retail marijuana shops in the city, citing the majority of its citizens who voted against Amendment 64.

The measure passed statewide and legalized possession, use and growing of small amounts of marijuana and the possibility of retail storefronts. The law allows home cultivation of marijuana, up to six plants per adult.

Lucas said the city is concerned that people could grow marijuana for their personal use in warehouses on agricultural land on a large scale.

Related: Shop elsewhere for recreational marijuana, Centennial says

“The proposed amendment would not be regulated by the Marijuana Enforcement Division and no local regulations have been identified to provide protections,” said Andy Firestine, deputy director of community development for the city, in an e-mail. “Also, no considerations have been made as to the enforcement of a co-op grow land use.”

Carl said he doesn’t understand Centennial’s concerns. He said there would be no such warehouses, but at the most greenhouses on these properties.

“The same limitations that would apply to someone growing their own marijuana at home would happen at this agricultural facility,” Carl said.

Lucas said the city is concerned about possible public safety hazards at potentially large grow operations at the borders of the city, for which the amendment in current form supplies no regulations.

The county planning commission votes on the amendment to the marijuana code June 3. If approved, the county commissioners vote June 24.

Carl said the impetus for the amendments was a desire from agricultural property owners to use their land for personal marijuana growing and that it would be a “win-win” because it would get marijuana growing out of the residential areas where he said he has heard complaints.

But Lucas said the city doesn’t agree.

“I hope the district commissioners that cover Centennial are listening,” Lucas said. ” I think they got the message fairly clear: We don’t want it on our borders, We don’t want it in our county.”

Clayton Woullard: 303-954-2953, cwoullard@denverpost.com or twitter.com/yhclayton

This story was first published on DenverPost.com