A lab tech at Steep Hill Halent of Colorado places a crushed marijuana-infused cookie into a tube for THC potency testing at the state-licensed cannabis testing laboratory in Denver on March 31, 2015. (Joe Amon, Denver Post file)

Jeffco board approves marijuana testing, bans other pot businesses

The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to ban marijuana manufacturing, cultivation and retail facilities but will allow testing in unincorporated areas of the county.

The new law will take effect Jan. 1, 2016, the date a moratorium on the marijuana industry was set to expire. All three commissioners voted in favor of the law. Testing facilities will be allowed only in parts of unincorporated Jefferson County that are zoned industrial and already permit other forms of testing.

Testing facilities entering unincorporated Jeffco will not need board approval and there is no cap on the number. The testing companies do need to be licensed by the state.

The vote settles the marijuana issue in unincorporated Jeffco after more than two years of discussions, work groups and delays. During that time moratoriums temporarily banned all aspects of the industry. The law removes any date regarding a reevaluation, but the board could reconsider the issue at any time.

Commissioner Don Rosier said he believes it could be useful to reform the working group that met last year and further look at the issue perhaps a year from now.

“There were a lot of questions the committee brought up that can only be proven over time,” Rosier said.

Commissioner Libby Szabo said she feels the board made a smart decision and noted some problems arising in the marijuana industry.

“A lot has been on the news and in our e-mail boxes about how (legalization) isn’t keeping (marijuana) out the hands of kids and how it’s perpetuating that activity,” she said. “I think what we did was very responsible. We looked at all the aspects and I’m proud of the work we did.”

Commissioner Casey Tighe noted the struggles with Colorado being the first state to legalize marijuana and praised lawmakers for their work in continuing regulation.

“Colorado is challenged with trying to plow new ground. I think there are a lot of things they’ve gotten right with implementation, and I think other things they are trying to change to make it better,” Tighe said.

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

This story was first published on DenverPost.com