Yampa residents raise their hands in support of medical marijuana dispensaries in the town during a public meeting Wednesday night.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Yampa residents raise their hands in support of medical marijuana dispensaries in the town during a public meeting Wednesday night.

Pot discussion packs Yampa Town Hall

South Routt residents turn out to voice marijuana opinions


— The town of Yampa is divided on medical marijuana.

More than 30 people attended a special meeting of the Yampa Town Board on Wednesday night intended to engage residents on their opinion of the controversial treatment approved by Colorado voters a decade ago. Nearly half of those who attended the meeting spoke — some in favor of medical marijuana, some opposed. At times, the discussion among residents grew contentious.

“Whether we like it or not, medicinal or recreational, it’s going to be here,” said resident Dale Clements, a medical marijuana cardholder. “It could have benefits if the town regulates it.”

Others disagreed.

“I think this started and has been perpetuated to get around the legal restrictions for marijuana,” resident Bruce Sigler said. “My personal opinion is this is subterfuge to describe this as medical uses for marijuana.”

A benefit mentioned by Clements and others was medical marijuana’s ability to generate sales tax revenue for Yampa. A reason for Sigler’s opposition, as well as that of others, was the lack of law enforcement in the community.

Medical marijuana was added to Colorado’s constitution after voters approved Amendment 20 in 2000. The amendment allows for marijuana use and possession for patients with certain conditions and a doctor’s recommendation.

LMS Dispensary, Yampa’s lone medical marijuana business, closed after owner J-Jay Johnson, citing high fees, didn’t apply for a state license by the Aug. 1 deadline imposed by new state legislation.

Any other potential medical marijuana businesses won’t open in Yampa until at least July 1, 2011, after House Bill 1284, the new legislation, became law. The legislation was created to regulate the business side of the medical marijuana industry.

As a result, town trustees said they have until next summer to figure out what to do. Their options include allowing medical marijuana businesses, banning them, or drafting a ballot initiative and letting voters decide.

Yampa let residents vote on the issue Wednesday, at least unofficially.

Town officials taped surveys on the front doors of each of Yampa’s more than 200 homes. Of the 55 surveys returned, 33 opposed medical marijuana while 22 supported it. However, many of the surveys had multiple votes for each registered voter living in the homes.

After the meeting, Mayor Bruce Pitts said that based on the surveys and the people who spoke at the meeting, he thought the town’s view on medical marijuana was split “dead even.”

The Town Board didn’t say what would happen next. Trustee Jeff Drust said nothing has been decided and trustees were just trying to digest what they heard. But Trustee Karen Tussey said it was important to get residents’ opinions because Yampa is such a tight-knit community.

The trustees all said they were pleased by the turnout.

“I’ve been in Yampa 33 years,” trustee Tom Yackey said. “This is the third time in my 33 years we’ve been able to fill Town Hall.”


ftpheide 6 years, 7 months ago

Mr. Sigler, The government has been allowing cancer patients to use marijuana for years. It helped ease their pain and increased their failing appetite. It is medical.


mmjPatient22 6 years, 7 months ago

And it's not like using cannabis as medicine is something new to this world. Quite the contrary actually. Cannabis is one of the world's oldest medicines and has been used by the likes of Queens, Kings and even our own founding forefathers. So before you get mounted too far up on your high horse, put a little thought and research into validating your opinions, instead of just going with what you're being told. Mind you, cannabis did not become illegal in this country until the 30's. Are we to believe that we just didn't know how bad it really was until the 1930's? I think not. The lobbying that subsequently led to the illegalization of cannabis all came from big business/industry like DuPont and a handful of pharmaceutical giants. The propagation of the cannabis plant would have only meant one thing to them; bad business. They saw a threat to their products and they moved on it.



hereandthere 6 years, 7 months ago

It actually is amazing how well their propaganda campaign worked. Especially when you consider how much damage the prohibition has done to our society, with it's subsequent violation of civil rights. One of the most un-american campaigns in recent history.


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