Following a public hearing on Feb. 6 on an ordinance that would have banned retail outlets selling marijuana for any use within town limits, the Crawford Town Council voted to wait until the first of June before establishing its own ordinance. In the interim the council will do its own research and give the state time to enact its set of regulations to govern retail outlets.
The decision probably surprised those who felt an ordinance would be enacted since council banned medical marijuana outlets within town limits. That vote was confirmed by voters in last April’s municipal election.
Christopher Brown, a local resident, asked the council to uphold its previous decisions and extend its ban to recreational marijuana establishments. Brown, an EMT, stated he has seen the effects of alcohol and marijuana on patients he has served. He doesn’t want local schools supported by money from marijuana sales.
Deb Imlah asked the council why they felt a need to enact an ordinance at this time, and if the ordinance could be changed in the future. James Brown, town attorney, said the ordinance could be repealed in the future.
Jay Ziegler, who operated the only medical marijuana retail outlet in Crawford prior to the ban, noted that nothing can happen with retail outlets until the state decides what the regulations will be.
The state legislature has until July 1 to have its regulations in place.
Amendment 64, approved last November by voters, allows individuals to have a small amount of marijuana for recreational use. Medical marijuana use continues to be legal in the state. The federal government, however, continues to view marijuana as an illegal drug. Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee, who attended the hearing, acknowledged that local law enforcement cannot arrest someone for marijuana possession within the current legal state limits, but federal agents can.
A number of local residents spoke in favor of the town allowing retail outlets to sell marijuana.
McKee said law enforcement has the same concerns about marijuana sales as they do with liquor sales. He believes those retail outlets would attract the wrong type of individual. He pointed out that even dispensaries on the Front Range operating within legal guidelines have had problems with “significant criminal activity” in nearby parking lots.
Trustee Christie Young said the council should look at all sides of the benefits and drawbacks to having retail outlets. The trustees, she said, don’t know if the financial benefits for the town would be worth it. She pointed out that prohibition didn’t work for alcohol, but a set of regulations did. States and the federal government collect taxes, regulate the quality and have regulations about who sells the alcohol.
Trustee Larry Kontour said the state is unprepared to handle the situation at this time and the town council should wait until the state finishes its regulations.
The council approved the motion to table the ordinance until the first council meeting in June.blog comments powered by Disqus