Marijuana regulations

Garfield County institutes new regulations on size and scale of personal recreational and medication marijuana cultivation

November 7, 2016

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – Following a range of citizen complaints and concerns surrounding the general health, safety and welfare of residents living near marijuana cultivation operations, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) made a unanimous decision November 7 to regulate personal, caregiver and medical marijuana grow operations. On November 21, the BOCC will subsequently consider enacting a resolution and making the regulations effective immediately. The new regulations will control the size and scale of non-commercial personal, caregiver, and medical marijuana grow operations throughout unincorporated portions of the county.

Since the passage of Colorado State Amendment 20 (medical marijuana) and Amendment 64 (personal/recreational marijuana), Garfield County has experienced a proliferation of personal marijuana grow operations. These operations range from those in residential areas growing marijuana within single-family homes to growers with large open-air operations and greenhouses. The size and scale of these grow operations, especially as they relate to potential issues regarding health, nuisance, and building safety, have been of increasing concern to the county.

Previously, under the county’s land use regulations, the county only regulated grow operations related to Operation Premise Cultivation Operations (OPCOs) (commercial medical grow operations), but not personal (recreational), medical, or caregiver cultivation. Cultivation of marijuana for commercial medical purposes continues to require a Land Use Change Permit through the county, while commercially growing marijuana for recreational use remains illegal in unincorporated Garfield County.

For all properties within unincorporated Garfield County and outside a PUD, the approved text amendment has the following impacts for property owners. Areas not impacted by these changes are properties within subdivisions in which covenants or regulations do not allow marijuana cultivation, and on properties within a zoned Planned Unit Development (PUD).

  • Any person growing marijuana for his or her own medical use, for patient medical use, or for personal recreational use must comply with the Garfield County Land Use Code and the adopted building code.
  • Any person growing marijuana shall grow it in an enclosed locked space (roof, walls, and locking door), not viewable by the public or adjacent property.
  • All cultivation of marijuana must occur as an accessory use to an existing dwelling unit.
  • All cultivation of marijuana must only occur in the primary residence of the patient, caregiver or person over 21 years old, or in an accessory structure on the same property.
  • Each lot is restricted to the following marijuana growing space and plant count limitations regardless of the number of patients, primary caregivers, or persons over the age of 21 years old residing on a single lot:


    Lot size and dwelling unit count Grow area and plant count limitation
    20,000 square feet or more, and with two or fewer dwelling units 300 contiguous square feet and not to exceed 36 plants per lot
    Less than 20,000 square feet and with two or fewer dwelling units 100 contiguous square feet and not to exceed 12 plants per lot
    Any lot with three or more dwelling units 100 contiguous square feet and not to exceed 12 plants per dwelling unit


  • All cultivation of marijuana shall not cause odors, smoke, heat, glare or light that is detectable to a person of normal senses beyond the property line upon which the use is being conducted, or in an adjacent dwelling unit or public area.
  • All chemicals utilized in the growing of marijuana must be used, stored, and disposed of in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. In addition, all spent soils must be disposed of in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Complete regulations will be posted online after the board approves the further resolutions at, and review the regulations. For questions regarding the cultivation of marijuana in unincorporated Garfield County, please contact the Community Development Department at (970) 945-8212.