County Signs Agreement with City for Ambulance Funding-/-Clarifies Position on Growing Hemp

Prowers County Courthouse



The Prowers County Commissioners passed a resolution during their final meeting of the year, December 20th, clarifying and amending the zoning regulations and adding new provisions regarding industrial hemp production and processing.  The commissioners stated the action was taken to clear up any potential misunderstanding between the moratorium the county imposed years ago on the sale of high THC content marijuana for recreational use.  Commissioner Ron Cook added that several land owners in northern Prowers County had contacted him since the passage of the 2019 Farm Bill regarding their ability to lease their farm land to interested parties for hemp production.

The action amended an earlier change from 2012 regarding hemp production and cultivation. Hemp, under Section 27 of the county zoning regulations, is defined as a plant of the genus Cannabis containing a THC concentration of no more than three-tenths of one percent on a dry weight basis.

A Hemp Establishment will be issued a (R & D) registration for either commercial or industrial production from the Colorado Department of Agriculture excluding residential structures. The establishment also needs clearance from the Prowers County Land Use Administrator to refine industrial hemp in a non-residential building and have obtained zoning authorization from the Land Use Administrator.

Other regulations stipulate that no hemp establishment be located within five miles of any personal use marijuana location or within 1,000 feet of any existing public or private school. No hemp establishment shall be located in a building containing residential units or a movable or mobile structure.  Transportation of hemp requires a copy of the Department of Agriculture hemp permit.  Quarterly and year end harvest data shall be provided to the Land Use Administrator.

In a move that will maintain ambulance and emergency services throughout Prowers County, the commissioners signed a six month agreement with the City of Lamar. The county will pay the city $60,000 for services running from the beginning of 2019 to June 30, 2019. Another contract agreement will need to be approved between both entities for continued service for the remainder of the year.  This action stems from the defeat of question 1A in the November General Election which would have instituted a countywide sales tax to cover the annual losses under which the ambulance service operates.

The commissioners approved several action items including approval of the county fairgrounds for the April 26-28, 2019 S.E. All-Stars HS/JH Rodeo Club Youth Rodeo and for the Colorado Junior Rodeo Association Youth Rodeo for July 24-28, 2019. The county is waiving rental fees but will receive half the stall rental receipts and $15 for each electrical RV rental at the fairgrounds.

The Prowers County Hotline County Connection Center (H3C) continues to grow in services as the commissioners approved a MOU with answering and processing Child Welfare and Adult Protection Services for nine counties including: Dolores, Grand, La Plata, Phillips, Las Animas, Rio Grande-Mineral, Summit, Kit Carson and Moffat.

Some end-of-year housekeeping actions were approved including the approval of Scranton Specht & Associates P.C. to perform a variety of legal services for the county including serving as legal general counsel for the county, matters relating to 1041 Regulations, special attorney for the county Department of Human Services including Child Welfare, Adult Protection and Juvenile Delinquency for DHS for 2019. The commissioners also approved a former tabled action, for the 2019 Ambulance License 2019-1 and Permits 1/2/3/4 and 5 for Lamar Ambulance Services.

The next Prowers County Commissioners meeting is set for Tuesday, January 8th.
By Russ Baldwin


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