Colorado

Jun 17, 2014 6:01 PM by Andy Koen

Board agrees to water weed in Pueblo, turns down lease to county

PUEBLO - Marijuana entrepreneurs hoping to apply for licenses to grow in the City of Pueblo need not worry about a lack of water. The Pueblo Board of Water Works said today they will not restrict water sales to any commercial or residential customers in the city.

Board president Mike Cafasso explained legitimate marijuana businesses are given the same consideration as any other commercial customer.

"The City Charter provides language that says we will provide water to city residents and city businesses and that's exactly what we're going to be doing," Cafasso explained.

The board spent several weeks in talks with their attorneys after the Bureau of Reclamation issued a temporary policy statement last month prohibiting federal contract water and water stored in the Pueblo Dam from being used to growing marijuana.

However, that restriction ends once the water passes through the dam and is "commingled" with other water.

The board resolution did add language to their current policy that gives them authority to stop selling water to marijuana growers in the future if the federal government changes its mind about marijuana and water policy in our state.

The board vote down a second resolution considering lease of up to 800 acre feet of raw water to well owners who may sell to marijuana businesses in the county.

"We're required to provide water to the city residents and businesses in the county we're not," Cafasso said. "We just simply asked for more time to research and think about the types of things we can and can't do regarding the county."

Board members Jim Gardner and Nick Gradishar disagreed with that decision.

"I think more gradually more states will okay the use of growing of marijuana in their states and this will become a mute point."

They say it's bad policy to deny water because of personal opinions or political differences.

"I don't like to moralize, that's not our job here on the water board, were here to sell water and if we can increase our income, we don't have to raise rates as much."

The board will take up the lease question again two months.

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