Boulder’s new marijuana advisory board underwent an official name change Tuesday with the blessing of City Council, and businesses selling the stuff that provides a buzz might not be the only entities impacted.
Should the Council adopt regulations for the 55 hemp cultivation and production facilities in Boulder as of last month, the advisory body formed in August last year could also make recommendations for the role the city should play in monitoring the non-psychoactive cannabis variety.
There were 52 marijuana-related cultivation, extraction and production facilities in the city last month; hemp-related facilities nearly doubled their footprint in Boulder from February last year, when there were 28 such facilities, according to city staff.
When the city’s Marijuana Licensing Authority was created in August, officials had unintentionally named the group in a way that conflicted with state law. According to city staff, Colorado statutes make clear a local marijuana licensing authority must handle licensing and regulation of pot businesses, but that is currently handled by city staff in Boulder.
City Council could change that, and more immediately give the marijuana board power over licensing matters, as it does for alcohol vendors through the Beverage Licensing Authority. But for the beginning of its life, the marijuana board is meant to be advisory in nature, with plans for it to take over licensing in the future.
City staff gave Council the option of simply renaming it the Marijuana licensing and Advisory Board to avoid the potential confusion between its duties and its name, or the Cannabis Licensing and Advisory Board, and officials unanimously chose the latter, allowing the same body to potentially weigh in on local hemp issues, as well.
Council last month, at city staff’s request, approved staff to work on possible hemp regulations that could include licensing and facility safety inspection requirements for certain businesses in the industry. Council has yet to adopt any special hemp regulations.
“I don’t know exactly how we might regulate hemp, it seems like we might regulate it at least a little bit,” Councilman Aaron Brockett said. “To me, this just gives us flexibility.”
There are 22 applicants to the advisory board that City Council could appoint to the seven-seat body, with two members who must be marijuana or hemp business owners or representatives of such owners, and two members with connections to the health or education fields. The remaining members shall be at-large, and up to two ex officio, non-voting members may be appointed by Council, and are intended to be non-residents of Boulder.
“We license marijuana facilities, not necessarily hemp facilities,” Mayor Sam Weaver said. “It could just be an advisory (board) on hemp and marijuana, and regulatory on marijuana” in the future.
The marijuana licensing duties of the board are set to kick in no less than six months and no longer than two years from the date of the first meeting of the advisory group.