City Council discusses moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries

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— A local entrepreneur's proposal to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Steamboat Springs sent tremors through city government Tuesday, but the City Council rejected a proposed emergency moratorium on such businesses.

Complaints of backaches were the running joke at Centennial Hall during a marathon meeting Tuesday night. At the end of the meeting, City Attorney Tony Lettunich asked council members whether they felt the need to enact a moratorium to allow more time to digest the possibility and provide an opportunity to create rules for such a business. The issue had raised concerns in the city's planning and police departments.

Steamboat resident Kevin Fisher, who is a medical marijuana user himself, has been in contact with city officials about opening a dispensary with his partner Ryan Fisher, who he is not related to. The issue represents a growing trend in the state, and Steamboat's contemplated response is similar to that in other mountain communities.

Kevin Fisher said he thinks a moratorium is unnecessary. He said he has been in contact with city officials because he wants to work cooperatively with them.

"We're not trying to cowboy this," he said.

Kevin Fisher also said he hopes to open a dispensary in a low-key location and conduct business by appointment only.

"We're not going to have a storefront with a big neon marijuana leaf in the window," he said.

In rejecting the proposed emergency moratorium, council members said they were unwilling to enact "alarmist" legislation at the late hour and with no public notice.

According to the state, there are about 60 dispensaries in Colorado that sell marijuana products to the growing number of Coloradans who have a medical marijuana license. Colorado's Amendment 20 made the medical use of marijuana legal, with restrictions and a doctor's recommendation, beginning in 2001. Although marijuana is still illegal federally, the Obama administration has decided to stop raids on operations that are compliant with their states laws.

The Associated Press reported last week that the number of people registered to use marijuana in Colorado jumped by 2,000 in the past month, bringing the state total to 9,000, and the average age of license holders has dropped from 42 to 24. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment expects the number of registered users to increase to 15,000 by the end of the year. Last week, the Colorado Board of Health rejected a proposed rule that would have restricted medical marijuana providers to five medical marijuana patients each.

All of these factors have amounted to a boon for the dispensary business. In addition to Front Range cities such as Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs, dispensaries have started to emerge on the Western Slope in towns such as Frisco, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. According to the Summit Daily News, "Breckenridge and Frisco have both set 90-day moratoriums on medical marijuana dispensaries while regulations are drafted; Dillon and Silverthorne officials are discussing the matter."

According to the AP, Breckenridge is considering rules that would restrict dispensary hours and regulate their proximity to schools.

Also Tuesday

- City Council stood by its staff and decided to require that $960,000 being paid by Steamboat 700 for water projects be paid in three equal, annual installments beginning 30 days after the proposed community of 2,000 homes is annexed. Steamboat 700 had argued for a payment plan consisting of an initial payment of $105,000 after annexation and three equal payments of $285,000. The first of those three payments would be due at the recording of the first final plat creating a building lot. The second would be due a year after that, and the third would be due two years later.

- Council members faced a barrage of public comment from angry Steamboat residents fighting to protect open space near their homes. Residents of West Acres Mobile Home Park showed up to protest the city's plan to build a new east-west thoroughfare on a designated greenbelt behind the park. For more on that issue, see Sunday's Steamboat Pilot & Today.

Residents also spoke out loudly against a conceptual design plan for Rita Valentine Park, an undeveloped parcel between Hilltop Parkway and Anglers Drive. The design plan initially called for facilities, a road and parking lots but was scaled down to include only dog parks and other low-intensity improvements. Residents at the meeting said they prefer the untouched open space, and council voted unanimously to table the design plan indefinitely.

Comments

greenwash 4 years, 8 months ago

They need to clean house in Parks and Rec.Total waste of money.

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NchronicPain 4 years, 8 months ago

Too late. There's already a medical marijuana co-op in Steamboat. It needs no city approval. No storefront. No office at all. Deliveries only. There are only 30 registered patients in all of Routt County. What is the use in having a storefront?? The price of rent will only drive the price of medicine up.

naturalchoiceco_op@yahoo.com

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NchronicPain 4 years, 8 months ago

Of course the customers will pay sales tax. The dispensaries on the Front Range function like a normal business. Cash registers, credit/debit card machines, sales tax.... you name it. The only problem with them is the medicine is way too expensive. Health Insurance companies are beginning to start reimbursing patients for the cost of medicine, but the medical marijuana industry was intended to be a non-profit business. Entrepreneur's see PROFIT. They see $$$$. There is not a need for a storefront dispensary in Steamboat yet, maybe never. The State of Oregon has nearly as many registered patients as California, but we never hear about Oregon, because the industry functions off of non-profit cooperatives. Patients grow their own and is not someone sitting in a store reaping all the profits of people's ailments. Now that I say that, I have no idea the intentions of these two fellows. But, I don't blame them for trying to be the first ones to get this idea rolling in Steamboat. With stock being traded on the NASDAQ for the MJNA company, all major TV networks doing expos(ay)'s on medical marijuana, and places on the Front Range such as Cannabis Therapeutics legally making 6 and 7 figure amounts yearly........I'd say the "non-profit" element of the business has been tossed out the window. But, in Steamboat, a local cooperative (I mentioned above) has already taken root (no pun intended). There is NOT extremely high demand for medical mj in Steamboat currently. The demend will increase. A dispensary may be needed, but much cheaper and more reliable methods are available in the NW Colorado region for patients to access medicine. Send an email to the link above and info will be forwarded to anyone with interest. Unlike dispensarys, cooperatives simply help people supply themselves.

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seeuski 4 years, 8 months ago

Are you allowed to drive while using this weed?

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NchronicPain 4 years, 8 months ago

Seeuski, to answer your question frankly...... NO. Registered medical mj users are not allowed to drive down the road intoxicated, just like everyone else. Some argue this: When we are prescribed a bottle of anti-seizure medicine there is label that reads "Do not operate machinery on this medicine until you are familiar with the effects." I don't think anyone should drive when heavily medicated. But, in my case, I am medicated all day. If I don't I am in extreme pain. Am I ever "intoxicated"?? Nope. It's very hard to even notice I am medicated. So, if police were to pull over a registered medical patient that was actually in the process of medicating while driving, they would surely be arrested and given a DUI. But, if the vehicle simply smells like mj, than I've known of the police to give the driver a field sobriety test.

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freerider 4 years, 8 months ago

AN EMERGENCY MEETING TO REGULATE POT.....Listen up people , pharmaceudicals kill ten times more people every year than all illegal drugs combined , this is according to the surgeon general of the U.S.A. just ask Elvis , or Michael Jackson , Danny gans , Heath Ledger , Rush Limbaugh , about pill popping, nobody has ever overdosed on marajuana ever in the history of the world...the ignorance in this country about pot is pathetic. If your going to be scared about drugs then turn your attention to things like flu shots, prosac , oxycontin, or how about guardasil . Guardasil has killed over 150 young healthy girls worldwide and has caused seisures and paralisis in others. Yet the FDA ( THE FOOD AND DEATH ADMINISTRATION ) KEEPS IT ON THE MARKET FOR PROFIT, DEATH BY PRESCRIPTION. This year's flu shot is going to have squalene and glycol in it...and they will scare you to take it. just look up glycol and squalene before you get a flu shot. Pot should be legal to grow , it's a frekin plant. There actually quite beautiful. And that will take the value out of it. No more war on drugs, or at least the pot war would be over...it's a start down the road of reason instead of ignorance...Pot was made illegal to protect corporate profits. Just read the marajuana tax act of 1937 for yourself before you start making stupid ignorant rants about marajuana...that is if you can read......

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seeuski 4 years, 8 months ago

freerider, You need a hit pal, no one is ranting but you. Mellow out, isn't mj supposed to do that? Oh, and don't assume we don't have experience with drug use, your insinuation that no one has ever od'd on pot is false.

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Brian Kotowski 4 years, 8 months ago

I'm skeptical about marijuana overdoses. There is some concern about its effects on older users who may be dealing with hypertension, coronary artery disease, and cerebrovasular issues. It is also known to induce tachycardia, trigger angina, & alter blood pressure - particularly among those with existing medical problems.

One of my friends (in his 30s) has stopped using because it was inducing panic attacks. A former co-worker tells me weed was the only thing that controlled his nausea when he was undergoing chemo.

I don't use it myself, and don't really have a dog in the fight. Although I do tend to encamp myself in the 'live & let live' contingent. Y'all want to get baked on the ganja & risk the applicable sanctions if you get caught, more power to you. I'll stick to scotch & cigars.

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toboyle105 4 years, 8 months ago

Sep, I am glad you are able to get comfortably numb in your own legal way. Of course you might have to deal with lung cancer, throat cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer or any other of the mean things that happen with the vices you choose maybe a DUI. You might someday have the luxury to ease your pain thru the benefits of mj. The DEA and all the law enforement need reefer madness so the dollars continue to flow. That in itself has become a multi billion dollar business.

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Brian Kotowski 4 years, 8 months ago

toboyle105:

Your point eludes me. If I am stricken with any of the maladies you allude to, as the result of my chosen vices, so be it. You won't hear me whining about it.

One quibble: you'll never find me in The Record as having been nailed for DUI. The nanny-staters among us can't conceive that adults can behave responsibly, but that's their (and maybe your?) problem, not mine.

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seeuski 4 years, 8 months ago

Is the movement for the right to become comfortably numb or to ease physical pain? It looks kind of shaky by someones post.

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NchronicPain 4 years, 8 months ago

I like your questions Seeuski. They are valid questions.

The "movement" IS, unfortunately, seeking a comfortably numb existence. But, a great deal of medical mj patients NEED the medicine very much. In my case, a day without it would be very uncomfortable..... very painful.

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seeuski 4 years, 8 months ago

Seems reasonable to me Nchronic, I can agree with your answer and it seems that the abuse factor ruins it for those like you. I'd be on board but for that. Why not when drugs are prescribed that are much more powerful?

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NchronicPain 4 years, 8 months ago

Your viewpoint is much appreciated Seeuski, thanks. :)

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