Snowmass Village not ready to go to marijuana | AspenTimes.com

Snowmass Village not ready to go to marijuana

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun

Snowmass Village isn't creating local regulations for recreational marijuana businesses because the town isn't expecting to receive any.

Municipalities in Colorado can start accepting applications for recreational marijuana business licenses Oct. 1. To apply for a license, a potential business would have to have a lease in the village, and that's not likely to happen anytime soon, said Town Clerk Rhonda Coxon.

That's because most of the owners of commercial space in town — primarily Related Colorado — aren't interested in leasing to marijuana businesses, she said.

A representative of Related confirmed that is its current policy. Coxon said two people have inquired about opening a dispensary, but they were unable to lease a space.

"Until that happens, we don't have anything prohibiting them to do it, but they probably won't be able to find a landlord that will give them lease space in Snowmass," Coxon said.

The town hasn't outlined how it will regulate retail pot or even created a standard application process for licenses. If an application was submitted to the Town Clerk's Department, it would be treated like a liquor license, but it most likely would be presented to the Town Council for approval rather than the Local Liquor Authority because that board isn't prepared to handle them yet.

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"I would go by the advice of my attorney," Coxon said.

Staff from the town suggested that the Town Council pass an ordinance opting out of the retail sale of marijuana. The council members didn't think it was necessary because there were no pending applications.

Coxon said the town wants to see how the regulation of marijuana businesses plays out in other municipalities first.

"So far, the town of Snowmass Village has not pursued regulations related to recreational or medical marijuana shops, but the town is monitoring what happens both at the state and local level closely," said Kelly Vaughn, town director of communications.

Coxon said the town hasn't received "any feedback at all, positive or negative" from village residents on the potential for the recreational pot industry to come to Snowmass.

The city of Aspen has collected more than $100,000 in sales tax from three existing medical marijuana facilities there since 2009, according to The Aspen Times. The state is proposing an additional 15 percent tax on sales from cultivation facilities and a 10 percent tax on retail sales, which Coloradans will vote on in November. Municipalities that allow retail facilities will get a portion of revenue from the retail tax if it is approved.

A report prepared by the Colorado Futures Center at Colorado State University estimates that the adult recreational marijuana market in Colorado will generate an additional $130.1 million in state tax revenue in 2014-15. It also forecasts that the revenue will plateau or decline after the first few years of legalization.

Snowmass Village has not done any research on the potential revenue dollars that could be produced for the town by recreational pot, Vaughn said.

"While there are arguments both for and against whether the pot business is a sales tax moneymaker for municipalities, we feel strongly that our brand as a leading family resort community is an incredibly valuable long-term asset," Vaughn said.

jbeathard@snowmasssun.com

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