Snowmass Town Council mulls marijuana survey, anonymity |

Snowmass Town Council mulls marijuana survey, anonymity

Erica Robbie
The Aspen Times

The Snowmass Town Council on Monday weeded through a survey designed to solicit communal feedback on pot shops’ place in the village.

The issue of anonymity and whether the questionnaire should require respondents to identify themselves dominated the discussion.

“I think there’s a social stigma to people who want or who support marijuana and marijuana licensing,” Snowmass Town Councilman Bob Sirkus said. “I’m uncomfortable about the anonymity issue, although I do think that it would be better to require names and address than to have it totally open.”

He proposed an alternative method of distributing surveys with individual codes to Snowmass Village residents without requiring their names.

“Just because you fill out the survey doesn’t mean you smoke it.” -Snowmass Town Councilwoman Alyssa Shenk

Playing devil’s advocate, Mayor Markey Butler said anonymous responses could open the floodgates to feedback from people all over with little or no ties to Snowmass. She pointed to the “big hassle” with Krabloonik in 2013, and more recently with the roundabout sculpture, as examples of public input gone awry.

Anonymity aside, Snowmass Town Councilwoman Alyssa Shenk contended that village residents who care about the issue would voice their opinions regardless.

“I mean, (marijuana is) legal, so it’s not like you’re putting your name on something that’s (illegal),” Shenk said. “Just because you fill out the survey doesn’t mean you smoke it.”

“That’s exactly right,” Butler said.

“It just means that you’re either passionate about wanting it in this community or not,” Shenk concluded.

Snowmass Village first implemented its moratorium on medical and recreational marijuana establishments in September 2013, after Colorado voters approved recreational pot sales in November 2012. The council unanimously voted in late February to extend the moratorium, which is in effect until Oct. 31.

The Snowmass Town Council on Monday directed staff to prepare a final version of the questionnaire before their Dec. 4 meeting.

Along with gauging people’s general attitudes toward marijuana establishments in Snowmass, the survey inquires on acceptable licensing, zoning and taxing.

Should the council give it the green light at the next meeting, the survey could launch before the end of the year, said Snowmass Assistant Town Manager Travis Elliot.