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Steamboat Springs Colorado Debates The New Pot Laws
Dated: July 23 2013
Along with Colorado, 7 other states, the most recent being Vermont have voted to allow retail marijuana dispensaries operate in their state. This has caused problems with local law enforcement, who have sworn an oath to uphold the laws of their state but put them in direct conflict with the Federal Government when it comes to growing and selling both medical marijuana and that approved for recreational use. The laws are blurry and the officers once sworn to arrest those who grow and partake in the use of marijuana are now being asked to protect the right of the grower and user. But how far does that go?
Many towns and counties are faced with balancing the rights of the marijuana licensees with the health, welfare and safety of the public. Here in Steamboat Springs, the citizens voted in a referendum vote overwhelmingly (69%) to allow retail outlets within the city limits BUT have limited the commercial zoning to only the outskirts and industrial areas within the city limits. The City Council has voted in a preliminary working session to also limit the size of an ad as well as signage for these dispensaries. They have limited the number of licenses available to 3, for the next year as well, leaving some asking where is the idea of free enterprise and competition gone?.
The question becomes, are they acting in the spirit of the law, which states that marijuana dispensaries are to be treated and regulated the same way liquor stores are regulated or are they acting in direct conflict of the law?
I recently attended the City Council working session where these and other marijuana related issues were discussed and voted on. It is clear City Council in Steamboat Springs is divided on where their authority lies. It is clearly a divisive issue here and one that will not be resolved in the near future. Some of the concerns were, issues like if we allow liquor stores to have retail locations in these areas within the city limits are we justified to limit dispensaries from being in the same locations? Also does City Council have the right to tell a business owner how they can advertise and what they can put on their signs? No pot leaves they say but you can use the word marijuana?????
Other towns in Colorado have voted to ban dispensaries completely but if the voters voted to allow these businesses by a majority vote, does City Council have the constitutional right to limit how and where they can do business?
The public will have a chance to weigh in on the subject August 7th at the first reading of the new ordinance. Where do you fall on the subject?
The Steamboat Luxury Team -Vicki Jackson and Mike Shuttleworth Vicki Jackson has been a Realtor for 11 + years and comes from a long line of Realtors. She has specialized in luxury resort and ranc....