Chapter 5.16 - Liquor and Marijuana Licensing Board

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5.16.010 Licensing Authority.

A. As used in this Title, the term “Local Licensing Authority” means the board, officer or agent, as applicable, designed to serve as the local licensing authority for liquor establishments, medical marijuana establishments, and retail marijuana establishments within unincorporated portions of Pueblo County.

B. The Pueblo County Board of County Commissioners designates the Pueblo County Liquor and Marijuana Licensing Board to serve as the Local Licensing Authority, except where the Hearing Office or Licensing Agent may be designated to serve as the Local Licensing Authority under this Chapter or Title.

C. Each person or entity serving as the Local Licensing Authority shall sit as the specific authority for the application type before it and may later sit as a different authority to hear an application of a different type without the need to recess and reconvene or otherwise to announce such change. (Res. 20-009)

5.16.020 Licensing Board.

A.  The Pueblo County Liquor and Marijuana Licensing Board (the “Board”) was established by Resolution No. 15-038 and consists of seven (7) members appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the Board of County Commissioners. A majority of the Board constitutes a quorum for the conduct of its business.  Each member of the Board shall serve for a term of three (3) years, except that the initial appointments included abbreviated so as to create staggered termination dates. A vacancy shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment. Appointees to fill vacancies shall serve the remainder of the unexpired term.

B.  No member of the Liquor and Marijuana Licensing Board may hold, or have any direct or indirect financial interest in, any marijuana establishment, liquor or dance hall license.

C. At the Board’s first regular meeting in February each year, the Board shall elect one (1) of its members to act as Chairperson.  The Chairperson or other presiding member of the Board may administer oaths during any hearing or other meeting where testimony is taken.

D.  Regular meetings of the Liquor and Marijuana Licensing Board shall be held in the Board of County Commissioners Chambers on the second Monday of each month, commencing at 6:00 p.m. The Director of Planning and Development and the Chair of the Board are authorized to call special meetings, as may be necessary, to hear and decide any matter that could otherwise be scheduled at a regular meeting so long as the meetings and agenda items are properly noticed. 

E.  The Board may adopt rules or administrative provisions for its internal governance upon approval by the Board of County Commissioners. (Res. 20-009)

5.16.030 Hearing Officer.

A. Effective January 1, 2020 or on such later date as the first Officer is selected, the position of Hearing Officer shall be established. Until the establishment of the position, the Liquor and Marijuana Licensing Board shall continue to perform all functions of the Hearing Officer. The Board of County Commissioners shall select at least one licensed attorney or mediator to serve as a Hearing Officer and may delegate the power to select Hearing Officers to the Licensing Agent.  The selection of a Hearing Officer shall remain valid until the selection expires by its own terms or until the Board of County Commissioners choses to replace or rescind the selection.

B. The Hearing Officer shall hear and make the initial decisions for the following:

            1. Any hearing set in response to an alleged violation; and

            2. Any hearing set for a license renewal application.

In the cases described above, the Hearing Officer shall have jurisdiction over the matter from the time the matter is filed or set until the Officer’s decision on the matter is made. However, proposed stipulations between the Marijuana Enforcement Division and the licensee or applicant shall be submitted directly to the Board. If the Board rejects a stipulation, only then shall the violation or renewal hearing be set before the Hearing Officer.

C. In addition to the automatic hearings described in subsection B, the Hearing Officer may preside over any other hearing that the Liquor and Marijuana Licensing Board elects to refer to the Officer. In deciding whether to refer a hearing to the Hearing Officer, the Liquor and Marijuana Licensing Board shall consider whether taking such action would be necessary or expedient to serve the ends of justice. 

D. The Licensing Agent shall coordinate scheduling with the persons permitted to serve as Hearing Officer. The Licensing Agent shall work to identify potential hearing times and dates where proceedings within the Hearing Officer’s jurisdiction have been initiated or may possibly be initiated at an upcoming meeting of the Board.  

E. The Hearing Officer may continue hearings as necessary and may issue oral or written procedural or case management orders as needed.  In addition, rules of procedure maybe be adopted or amended by the Board of County Commissioners to assist in the management of hearings. A final decision of the Hearing Officer shall be in writing and shall be forwarded for approval to the Liquor and Marijuana Licensing Board and considered at the Board’s next regular meeting, except that if no meeting is scheduled in the thirty-five days following the Hearing Officer’s decision, one shall be scheduled by the Licensing Agent. In the event the Board fails to hold a vote within thirty-five days of the Hearing Officer’s decision, the decision shall be deemed approved and final.

F. Upon review of the Hearing Officer’s decision, the Board may elect to approve or to reconsider the decision. To reconsider, no less than two-thirds of members constituting the quorum must vote in favor. If that threshold is not met, the motion shall fail and the Hearing Officer’s decision shall be deemed approved and final. If the Board votes by a sufficient margin to reconsider, it may specify whether it will reconsider all or part of the decision. After reopening the hearing and receiving and considering necessary evidence, the Board may affirm, modify or reverse the decision of the Hearing Officer. (Res. 20-009)

5.16.040 Licensing Agent.

The Board of County Commissioners shall designate a Licensing Agent who will serve as primary staff to the Liquor and Marijuana Licensing Board and who is responsible for all administrative tasks necessary to assist the Board in carrying out its duties, including but are not limited to receipt of applications and fees, scheduling hearings, coordinating with applicants and other interested parties, any required conducting prehearing investigations, and compiling minutes.  The Licensing Agent shall coordinate with other departments for assistance when the needs of the Board so require. Where this Title specifically provides, the Licensing Agent is empowered to serve as the Local Licensing Authority. Except where the Licensing Agent is empowered to serve as the Local Licensing Authority, the Agent may employ staff to assist in carrying out his or her functions. (Res. 20-009)

5.16.050 Final Decisions,

Once final, a decision of the Local Licensing Authority may be subject to judicial review as provided by state law. (Res. 20-009)