Carbondale seeks to help dispel myths surrounding marijuana dispensaries
July 23, 2009
CARBONDALE – Operators of a newly opened medical marijuana dispensary in Carbondale were invited before the town’s board of trustees Tuesday night to help clarify what it is they do.
“I think it is useful for people to know what they’re up to, rather than it be subject to rumor and unanswered questions,” Mayor Michael Hassig said to start the discussion.
He also said the requested meeting was not intended to try to restrict such operations, as other Colorado towns have proposed or enacted.
“We expected that there would be some questions, so we gladly came here tonight,” said Tamara Novian, who along with Joey Jones opened the Colorado Mountain Dispensary in Carbondale earlier this month.
Medical marijuana dispensaries throughout Colorado won a vote of confidence from the state health board when it voted Monday to reject a five-patient limit on medical marijuana “caregivers,” as they are referred to in Amendment 20.
Colorado voters passed the amendment nine years ago, authorizing patients with certain conditions, including HIV, muscle spasms and chronic pain, to use medical marijuana as long as they get a doctor’s approval and register with the state. The law permits patients or their designated caregivers to grow up to six marijuana plants or possess two ounces of usable marijuana.
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Dispensaries are a legitimate business, registered with the state and local jurisdictions for tax collection purposes.
Trustees asked questions related to the chosen location for the dispensary, near Gianinetti Park on Village Road.
“I certainly approve of what you’re doing, but you do have to take into consideration what the perception of the town is going to be,” Trustee Ed Cortez said.
He also questioned what type of security is in place.
Novian said a video surveillance system has been installed, and the dispensary has a secure safe along with other security measures.
“Our customers come to us because they have a debilitating condition,” Novian said. “They tend to get what they need and go to the privacy of their own home.”
Police Chief Gene Schilling said there are no statistics indicating any increase in crime in areas where medical marijuana dispensaries are located. He has said he does not have any issues with the local dispensary, as long as they operate within Colorado’s medical marijuana laws.
Trustee Stacey Bernot referred the C.M.D. operators to a website containing some safety tips for dispensaries and how to work with local communities to avoid problems.
“Our facility is not a ‘walk-in pharmacy,’ as much as it is a ‘by-appointment club,'” Novian and Jones explained in a written description of their operation. “We will expect our patients to call ahead and let us know they are coming. For new patients, we will need to verify their documents, before we can provide the medicine they need.”