2 Oak Creek residents begin process for medical marijuana vote | SteamboatToday.com

2 Oak Creek residents begin process for medical marijuana vote

Town Board could approve ordinance or take issue to town voters

Nicole Inglis

— Oak Creek residents Walter and Ann Trout have begun the process of a citizen-led initiative to ban medical marijuana centers in the town.

According to a memo from Oak Creek Town Clerk Karen Halterman to the Oak Creek Town Board, the Trouts submitted the draft of a petition and a proposed initiative ordinance April 27.

Their proposed ordinance would "prohibit the operation of medical marijuana centers, optional premises cultivation operations and marijuana infused products licenses in the town" and calls for a special election if the town does not adopt the ordinance.

According to Halterman's memo, the Trouts' ordinance was submitted to town attorney Bob Weiss. Weiss, Mayor Nikki Knoebel, Halterman and the Trouts met last week to discuss the ordinance and the initiative process.

Weiss outlined three options for the Town Board moving forward: First, the town could adopt the ordinance. Second is to set the special election and allow residents to decide.

The third option is to do nothing, which would give the Trouts the right to resubmit their petition with the required number of signatures. The Colorado Revised Statues require 5 percent of registered voters from the most recent election to sign the petition, which in this case amounts to 35 signatures from Oak Creek voters, according to the memo.

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If those signatures are gathered, the town must adopt the ordinance or set a special election.

Ann Trout said Wednesday that the work she and her husband have done is nothing more than similar initiative petitions in other Western Slope communities such as Palisade, Grand Junction and Buena Vista.

"We think that it would be best for the town of Oak Creek and the community to let voters decide whether or not they want commercialized marijuana facilities in town," she said. "Right now, we don't have any expectations of what's going to happen in the future. We respect the work that Nikki (Knoebel) does, so we'll let them work through this."

Also at Thursday's meeting, the board is scheduled to discuss a new board vacancy. Lawrence Jaconetta submitted a letter of resignation one year into his term. Jaconetta was not present at the April 28 board meeting. Later that evening, Jaconetta was arrested by the Routt County Sheriff's Office on suspicion of harassment and menacing. He is accused of leaving threatening messages for a Phippsburg resident regarding the medical marijuana issue.

At the meeting, the town also will continue the discussion about a proposed ordinance on the collection of unpaid utility bills, consider a resolution on a supplemental budget appropriation and a resolution on a trash rate increase of $1 per month to reflect rising costs.

For more information, call the town clerk at 970-736-2422.

— To reach Nicole Inglis call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com

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