City applies for grant to curb black market pot

Montrose Police Chief Blaine Hall, center, speaks about the Gray and Black Market Marijuana Enforcement Grant Program with members of the City Council during a work session Nov. 5.

The City of Montrose has decided to pursue a grant with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, DOLA, to help cover costs associated with the investigation and prosecution of black market marijuana production.

City Councilors approved a resolution Tuesday to allow the city to opt-in to the already created and funded state program. According to DOLA’s website, the program is designed to “provide financial assistance grants annually to local law enforcement and district attorneys through the local governments for the investigation and prosecution costs associated with unlicensed marijuana cultivation or distribution operations.”

Specifically, the program aims to provide funds to assist rural areas in preventing large-scale grow operations, organized crime operations, or any operations that divert marijuana outside the state of Colorado. According to DOLA, Colorado municipalities must opt-in to the grant program to receive financial assistance.

According to Kendall Cramer, the city’s grant coordinator, the amount DOLA funds local municipalities is based on population. Cramer estimates the city could receive around $2-per resident of the City of Montrose.

Montrose Police Chief Blaine Hall said the Gray and Black Market Marijuana Enforcement Grant Program would provide DOLA funds to the City of Montrose for personnel, operational, and equipment costs to investigate, enforce, and prosecute illegal marijuana grow and sale operations.

“The police department is very excited the City Council directed city staff to pursue this grant and offset our investigative costs,” Hall said. “It is clear, based on recent investigations, there is an issue with illegal marijuana in our community and this grant will assist our officers in those investigations.”

Cramer said the city would hear back about the status of the city’s application sometime in 2019.

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William Woody