Kudos to Basalt

Having experienced the Basalt Town Council’s remarkable ability to make haste slowly on momentous issues, marijuana magnate Jack Pease has decided to take his bong and go home to Boulder after hurling a few Parthian shafts — declaring that he wouldn’t “host a dog-leashing contest in Basalt,” and stating that he had contemplated suing the town (“Boulder marijuana dispensary owner backs out of Basalt deal,” Aspen Daily News, Jan. 3).

I guess we can sense the kind of neighbor he would have made.

For some, this is another failure of governance in Basalt. Councilman Auden Schendler, for example, questions how the town can deny pot on Main Street while allowing liquor retailers.

But it appears that there is no consensus among the town’s residents that one pernicious substance is the same as the other, and the council’s deadlocked irresolution reflects that.

Consider that pot can just as easily be made analogous with tobacco products as it can with alcohol, and then consider the lengths to which our society has gone to discourage tobacco use. See any tobacconists on Main Street? Yes, tobacco can kill, but it can hardly be said to wreck lives in ways that alcohol and pot can, even when they’re nonlethal. Rationality fails us when we try to argue that one poison is better than another. But the heart informs us as to which poisons we are willing to put up with.

We have heard the aphorism that not to reach a decision is, in fact, a kind of decision. And so it is in the matter of introducing a retail cannabis business in the Three Bears Building, just as it is in the matter of what to do with the old Pan and Fork site along the river.

In both cases, I commend the council for its deliberation and consideration of its various citizens’ input. When given time, wisdom often prevails.

Chad Klinger