Snowmass Town Council says it wants to learn about marijuana, extend moratorium |

Snowmass Town Council says it wants to learn about marijuana, extend moratorium

Erica Robbie
The Aspen Times

The Snowmass Town Council is seeking higher education on cannabis — from the business behind Colorado’s billion-dollar industry down to its marijuana strains.

“I think it would be valuable for someone to come and speak with us about the business of marijuana. … I’m not educated enough to know the pros and cons,” Snowmass Town Councilman Bob Sirkus said at a work session Monday. “But there are people who understand them who can explain them to us and the community, and from there we can make more educated comments.”

The discussion came Monday as the council determines how to best move forward with its “moratorium on marijuana facilities in Snowmass,” according to a memo from Town Manager Clint Kinney and Town Attorney John Dresser.

The moratorium prohibits “the establishment of any medical marijuana facility or any retail marijuana establishment in the town of Snowmass Village,” the memo states.

The moratorium went into effect in September 2013, according to Dresser, and is currently set to expire March 15.

On Feb. 6, the council unanimously voted to extend the moratorium during a first reading of the proposed ordinance.

A second reading and vote on the ordinance, which will extend the moratorium officially until Oct. 31, 2018, is scheduled to take place at the next council meeting Feb. 21.

Based on the discussion Monday, Kinney said he “fully expects” the council to vote in favor of the extension at the second reading.

“What a moratorium does is it buys you some time,” Kinney said to The Aspen Times after the work session. “And we just bought ourselves some more time, but we need to make a decision.”

At Monday’s work session, the council made clear that educating itself on cannabis, from seed to sale, is “step one,” Mayor Markey Butler said.

“I don’t feel we’ve done enough homework or research for us to know how to set a timeline tonight,” Butler said, referring to the timing of the moratorium going forward.

“Do I want to study it? Yeah,” the mayor later said.

Though the extended moratorium would last until Halloween of next year, the council, Kinney and Dresser discussed potentially reaching decisions regarding pot shops and laws in Snowmass sooner — and in particular, before the town election that November.

“My only encouragement to you would be to move this faster (rather) than slower,” Dresser advised the council.

The town attorney said in his “personal, not professional opinion,” as issues heat up around election time, “Decisions get made sometimes for not the most solid reason.”

Upon educating itself, the Snowmass Town Council intends to “get a pulse on the community and what people think,” as Councilwoman Alyssa Shenk said.

For more on this story, check the Snowmass Sun on newsstands and online Wednesday.

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