By Lucas Vader
On July 9, Delta County Commissioner Don Suppes came to Stacy’s on Main in Cedaredge so local residents could come to him with their issues.
The event, previously branded “Coffee With a Commish,” was planned out ahead of time, and it received interest from over ten people who stopped by.
The major topics discussed were those of COVID-19 regulations and marijuana retail.
As far as the pandemic goes, Suppes assured frustrated residents that he shared that frustration and wishes for the county, and therefore the economy, to reopen. This is consistent with his continual ‘no’ votes each time the Delta County Board of Commissioners has extended the emergency declaration.
Suppes’ public stance on the issue was that political parties involved in making the restrictions are not aware of the damage they are causing and do not have enough understanding of the repercussions.
“They get their paycheck at the end of the day no matter what,” Suppes said.
Also, due to many emerging positive cases in people who show no symptoms, COVID-19 is much more widespread with a much lower death rate than anyone originally thought, Suppes said.
With that, Suppes said he thinks a search for a vaccine is an incorrect route to go, as he made the point that the common cold doesn’t even have a vaccine. Therefore, what is needed instead is a treatment to ensure it doesn’t progress as far as it has in many cases.
The more prominent of conversations with Suppes was that of putting a measure to allow retail marijuana in Cedaredge. Town Clerk Kami Collins crossed the street to join the meeting specifically for that topic to defend their reasoning against Suppes, who is vocally against marijuana retail anywhere in the county.
“The issue that I see is we have a lot of people that move into this area because we don’t have it,” Suppes said, “and they see what it’s done to their communities on the front range and other places. They move here because of it because it has destroyed their communities on the front range.”
Collins questioned whether this would be a common cause for moving, telling Suppes that statistics in studies by organizations such as the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey have shown that youth use of marijuana does not seem to rise with the legalization, of their source is normally the black market.
Also, a previous front range resident indicated to Collins that marijuana retail in that area is sometimes less of a professional retail source.
“They said if you look at the pot shops in Denver, they’re terrible,” Collins said, adding she can confirm this fact from her own visits to the area.
The stipulations for marijuana retail locations could be specified in ordinances after the fact. For example, they could make it so no shops are allowed on the highway or on Main Street, in order to have it be less central.
“I have been against marijuana in Delta County since day one,” Suppes said. He has examples within his own circle of friends and family who have suffered due to marijuana addiction, stating one person is now in the Delta County Correctional Facility due to it.
“The last thing we need in the county is one more reason for teenagers to think that marijuana is okay,” Suppes said.
Collins countered this by explaining the amount of regulations that go into ensuring that it stays out of the hands of youth, which will be described further in an upcoming article, and were outlined in the DCI article “Cedaredge talks pot, ballot measure could be coming in November.”
In summary, retail marijuana is heavily regulated and tends to cost more than black market pot, meaning it’s unlikely that people would purchase and retain marijuana to distribute to youth at either a lower or uncompetitive price to black market costs.
Collins also told Suppes that Cedaredge Police Chief Joe Roberts is in favor of the idea since statistics don’t show a proven rise in crime, and also because some money from the sales tax of marijuana would go to the police department. Previous chief Dan Sanders was also notably in favor of retail marijuana.
In regards to the lack of retail marijuana in Cedaredge despite it being legal in Colorado since 2012, prohibition from the 1920s came up, showing it was a similar concept. As one citizen put it later on, people have never learned to cope. They’ve learned to escape, and the fact liquor stores open early in the morning means we’re already in the place that Suppes thinks we’ll end up. On behalf of the town, it’s much needed money.
It’s an effort for the town to not dry up and go away. Therefore, it was said, “If you’re going to make the moral argument, then shut down the liquor stores too.”
Collins agreed with this notion, stating the community needs to be made aware that the Town of Cedaredge needs to do something to increase revenue, and tax increases are shot down every time. They never pass in the elections.
More on marijuana retail is coming soon, as the town discussed it on July 9.
Other issues that came up from citizens regarded roads, junk heaps and other local affairs.