Dillon flips on medical marijuana dispensaries
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
DILLON,Colo. – After a surprise vote Tuesday, Dillon officials are rethinking their stance on allowing medical marijuana dispensaries in town.
The Town Council voted down an ordinance that prohibited awarding licenses to businesses considered a public nuisance, or that violated state and/or federal law. Earlier this year, council also voted down regulations allowing dispensaries in Dillon.
The code change that essentially would have banned dispensaries from Dillon was already approved at first reading, but it was rejected Tuesday on a 4-3 vote. Council members Don Parsons, Mary Forsythe and Doug Roessel voted for it, and council members Lucinda Burns, Johnny Younger, Ron Holland and Mayor Barbara Davis voted it down.
Davis said she doesn’t advocate using marijuana, and she acknowledged medical marijuana abuse, but she also said that wasn’t the issue.
“Voters of this state voted for medical marijuana,” she said. “The federal government left it up to the states. I don’t think it’s up to us to decide how many of these should be allowed in the state and the county. … Towns don’t set limits on T-shirt shops, ski shops and liquor stores. Why should this be any different?”
Town Manager Devin Granbery said officials must schedule a time to discuss the town’s new direction in the near future. Dillon currently has a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries in place; it will expire Feb. 13. Any action taken to officially bar dispensaries, or to come up with a new set of regulations, must take place before that date. It’s also possible to extend the moratorium again.
Three residents attending the public hearing supported adopting the ordinance for health and welfare issues; one citizen urged the town to vote down the ordinance and asked how much it would cost the town in legal battles to defend it.
Council members previously cited concerns about abuse, need and lack of state regulations as reasons for not moving forward on approving medical marijuana regulations for the town in November.
Regulations for dispensaries have already been approved in the Summit County towns of Silverthorne, Frisco and Breckenridge. Two have opened in Frisco, one in Silverthorne, and two are open in Breckenridge, where a third is expected.
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Colorado’s Western Slope is considered a climate hot spot where temperatures are increasing faster than the global average. This warming has contributed to more than 20 years of dryness, which scientists are calling a megadrought.