Marijuana delivery services soon could find their way into Las Animas if the Bent County Commissioners and other local municipalities decide to opt into House Bill 1234.
The bill was signed by Gov. Jared Polis during May of last year and officially goes into effect this month. However, local governments have the choice to opt in or out of the bill that would allow for home delivery of marijuana.
Executive Director of Public Health in Bent County Omer Tamir informed the county commissioners of this bill during last week's meeting.
“I’m not here to advocate one way or the other, just to inform and to let you guys know you have the ability to opt in or out if you choose to do so,” Tamir said.
If they choose to opt in this year, the only marijuana that could be delivered in the county would be that of the medicinal variety. Recreational marijuana delivery will become legal in 2021, according to Tamir.
However, the moratorium on the growth and cultivation of marijuana in the county could potentially factor into the commissioners opting out of the bill.
“To me, if we already have a moratorium against the growing, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to say we’ll still allow it to be delivered in the county,” commissioner Jean Sykes said.
Tamir said that this bill could create some interesting scenarios for the city and county if one decides to opt in and the other decides to opt out. Because if the city chooses to opt in to the bill, it wouldn’t necessarily be killed by the county opting out. It would only mean that the marijuana couldn’t be delivered outside of the city limits.
“Once again, that all just becomes a matter of convenience, because if a rancher out in the county wants to drive into town and buy it he can, but he can’t have it delivered to his house.” Tamir said.
The other bill he brought up during the meeting was House Bill 1230, which concerns marijuana hospitality establishments. If the county opted into this provision, it would allow for hospitality spaces where medicinal and recreational marijuana could be bought and consumed on site.
The bill also would allow for food establishments to apply for a marijuana hospitality establishment license for a specified portion of the establishment where marijuana could be consumed. The only caveat is that the establishment can't have both a liquor and marijuana hospitality establishment license.
“So they must charge you to go in there and smoke your pot ... I mean, how else would they make money?” Commissioner Chuck Neatherton said.
No decision was made on whether to opt in or out of the bill because all three commissioners said they would like to research the bills more.
In other news from the first Bent County commissioners meeting of the new year was the election of Commissioner Jean Sykes as chairwoman.
“This is just my thinking, but you spent the first year learning what you’re doing and this year you’ll have it perfected,” Commissioner Kim MacDonnell said.
Neatherton was elected as the vice-chair of the Bent County Commissioners.
They also decided to continue holding their meetings on the first, second and fourth Thursday of the month at 9 a.m.
The next meeting is scheduled to be held on Jan. 9 at the Bent County Courthouse.