Marijuana men vs. anti-weed women: Snowmass mayor resurrects pot issue with gender twist
August 28, 2018
A handful of Snowmass Villagers believe the question of selling pot or not locally is an issue related to gender, according to Mayor Markey Butler.
"I'm just going to put it out there, I really don't want this issue to come down to men versus women. And that's how it's being viewed by some people within the community: The women on council versus the men on council," Butler said at a special Town Council meeting Monday.
Asked after the meeting the connection between marijuana and gender, Butler said the three councilmen are in favor of allowing dispensaries in Snowmass, while she and councilwoman Alyssa Shenk are not.
"I'm really sorry to hear that, because I never even thought of that," Town Councilman Tom Goode said in response to Butler's argument.
He added, "I've never heard men versus women on any other votes we went through."
The Town Council in late June voted 3-2 for staff to develop the framework allowing pot shops. Butler and Shenk were the dissenting votes.
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At three town meetings after the June vote, the mayor urged her fellow council members to reconsider its motion and argued that the question go to Snowmass voters in the November election.
The mayor's efforts were a moot point, however, as each elected official's position remained the same.
Noting her three failed attempts, Butler told the Sun in an interview Aug. 13 that she was "done" trying to reverse the council's direction or advocate for a town vote.
However, Butler brought up the question again at the Monday’s council meeting, which did not include any marijuana-related discussion on the agenda.
Goode proposed tabling the conversation until all five council members are present to confer. Councilman Bob Sirkus was absent from the meeting.
Butler said recent encounters with folks around town — be it at the market, post office or rodeo — is what made her decide to continue combating the issue.
She declined to offer any insight as to when, where or by whom the "men versus women" notion came into play.
"Overall, when I learned that none of the current council members and me as mayor will run uncontested, it was important for me to bring the current Town Council members who will be working together for the next two years back together on discussing the marijuana issue," Butler wrote later in an email Monday night. "As mayor, I do not want to see issues such as the marijuana discussion divided on gender, race, religion or sexual orientation."
Goode said after the meeting that he was "very surprised and taken back a little" when Butler associated pot policies with "boys versus girls."
Shenk commended the mayor for inquiring again about a ballot question.
Town Councilman Bill Madsen noted it was "interesting" that Shenk said people approached and applauded her for staying true to her anti-pot stance during the council's Get the Scoop event before the final free concert of the summer Aug. 16.
"I was getting the polar opposite of that," Madsen said. "So, I think that people are very eager to express their opinions if they agree with you and not so much if they don't."
The councilman added, "I'm happy to bring it up again when we have a full council, if that's your wish, and we'll see if the fourth time is the charm."
Asked if she thinks any member of the Town Council will change his or her position on pot by next week, Butler said, "I have no idea."
At the mayor's request, town attorney John Dresser agreed at the meeting Monday to prepare a ballot question for the council to review at its next meeting Sept. 4.
Pot shops have been under a moratorium in Snowmass Village since 2013, after Colorado voters approved recreational pot sales in November 2012. The moratorium, which the town extended in February 2017, will expire Oct. 31.
With a Sept. 7 deadline to submit ballot language to the Pitkin County clerk, the council must reach a decision at its next meeting.
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