Steamboat City Council to consider motion to delay pot ban


Ballot language

Shall the city of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, ban, effective January 1, 2012, the cultivation, manufacture and sale of medical marijuana, including the operations of medical marijuana centers, optional premises cultivation operations, and the manufacture of medical marijuana-infused products, unless such person does so as a patient or primary caregiver as authorized by Art. XVIII, Sec. 14 of the Colorado Constitution and pursuant to regulations enacted by the city; further authorizing the city to codify this ban in the municipal code.

Yes or No.

— The Steamboat Springs City Council is considering a motion that would allow medical marijuana businesses to continue operating till Jan. 1, 2012, even if voters ban them at the ballot box in November.

The ballot question that City Council members approved June 7 would have banned medical marijuana businesses immediately if residents voted in favor of it this fall. But City Council attorney Tony Lettunich said he will present a revised question that extends the time in which Steamboat’s three dispensaries could operate.

Lettunich said he spoke with Colorado Department of Revenue officials, who enforce the state’s medical marijuana industry, about the possibility of an immediate ban in Steamboat. He said that scenario wouldn’t allow the local dispensary owners to wind down their business operations, including getting rid of excess marijuana legally.

If voters ban medical marijuana dispensaries, grow operations and infused-product makers, Lettunich said delaying the ban to the first of the year was a more orderly way to allow the businesses to close.

“It really cleans it up for everybody, the dispensaries, the state enforcement people,” he said. “It seems like a better way to do it.”

Lettunich said that if the council doesn’t approve the new motion, the ban of medical marijuana businesses would take place after the city clerk certifies the vote, if residents approve it.

Marijuana became legal for people with certain medical conditions and a doctor’s recommendation when Colorado voters approved Amendment 20 in 2000. The measure also was supported by a majority of Routt County residents.

Steamboat’s three dispensaries opened in 2009. The City Council approved an ordinance that defined rules for their operation in January 2010. It was updated to confirm that the city allows their operation in compliance with Amendment 20 but does not recognize the commercial operations defined by Colorado House Bill 1284, which is new state legislation approved last year to better regulate the industry.

The possibility of a ban was raised locally April 5 when Steamboat Springs Police Department Capt. Joel Rae and Dr. Brian Harrington, of Yampa Valley Medical Associates, asked City Council members to ban the controversial practice.

Tonight’s City Council meeting begins at 5 p.m. in Centennial Hall, 124 10th St. Other agenda items include:

■ Second reading of an ordinance amending the secondary units and accessory structures municipal codes

■ An economic development update

■First reading of an amended city noise ordinance

■Second reading of an ordinance extending the rafting season on the Yampa River from Confluence Park to the Stock Bridge Transit Center

■ An update from Mainstreet Steamboat Springs

To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203

or email


freerider 5 years, 9 months ago

Former US attorney wants pot made legal !!!!!

Drug war has failed !!!!!

Cartels are dangerous because of drug profits !!!!!!

Well I've been saying this for years so here is somebody with a lot more credibility than me or Joel Rae or Wiggins or Lisa Watts or Dr. Harrington or



freerider 5 years, 9 months ago




beentheredonethat 5 years, 9 months ago

IN an extraordinary new initiative announced earlier this month, the Global Commission on Drug Policy has made some courageous and profoundly important recommendations in a report on how to bring more effective control over the illicit drug trade. The commission includes the former presidents or prime ministers of five countries, a former secretary general of the United Nations, human rights leaders, and business and government leaders, including Richard Branson, George P. Shultz and Paul A. Volcker.

The report describes the total failure of the present global antidrug effort, and in particular America’s “war on drugs,” which was declared 40 years ago today. It notes that the global consumption of opiates has increased 34.5 percent, cocaine 27 percent and cannabis 8.5 percent from 1998 to 2008. Its primary recommendations are to substitute treatment for imprisonment for people who use drugs but do no harm to others, and to concentrate more coordinated international effort on combating violent criminal organizations rather than nonviolent, low-level offenders.

These recommendations are compatible with United States drug policy from three decades ago. In a message to Congress in 1977, I said the country should decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, with a full program of treatment for addicts. I also cautioned against filling our prisons with young people who were no threat to society, and summarized by saying: “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.”

These ideas were widely accepted at the time. But in the 1980s President Ronald Reagan and Congress began to shift from balanced drug policies, including the treatment and rehabilitation of addicts, toward futile efforts to control drug imports from foreign countries. But they probably won’t turn to the United States for advice. Drug policies here are more punitive and counterproductive than in other democracies, and have brought about an explosion in prison populations. At the end of 1980, just before I left office, 500,000 people were incarcerated in America; at the end of 2009 the number was nearly 2.3 million. There are 743 people in prison for every 100,000 Americans, a higher portion than in any other country and seven times as great as in Europe. Some 7.2 million people are either in prison or on probation or parole — more than 3 percent of all American adults!

Some of this increase has been caused by mandatory minimum sentencing and “three strikes you’re out” laws. But about three-quarters of new admissions to state prisons are for nonviolent crimes. And the single greatest cause of prison population growth has been the war on drugs, with the number of people incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses increasing more than twelvefold since 1980.


rhys jones 5 years, 9 months ago

They're already loading their rifles for when their ban passes -- BUT WHAT IF IT FAILS? What if there's another measure on the ballot, calling for full legalization, or decriminalization? Legal experts, is there still at least one in the works? That will make all this posturing moot.

Our City Council still seems to think the world is flat, and it spins around Steamboat. Damn the science and full speed ahead, with whatever they think the local yokels will buy. The yokels I've seen at the meetings squawk a loud song, while the silent majority enjoys life nearby, rather than disseminate hate and misinformation. Council has their thumb in a dike that is about to burst.

Register and vote, kids!!


Scott Wedel 5 years, 9 months ago

Rhys, No need for any other MJ measure on the ballot since this election will also be for a majority of the City Council. I rather doubt any of the candidates will be able to avoid the MMJ issue.

Based upon demographics and historic voting patterns of SB, I think this ban is going to fail in a landslide. I think that landslide is going to transfer to the City Council races where every winning candidate will have pro-MMJ and pro dispensary views. So thus, probably first consequence is going to be Joel Rae being asked if he has any problems eating his words.

This election is going to rock n roll. The anti-MMJ campaign is so disorganized with such an obtuse message of "too many mmj patients in Routt County is bad for the medical profession" that the moneyed pro-MMJ campaign is just waiting and letting the anti-MMJ campaign continue to lose the middle ground and libertarians. But once the pro-MMJ campaign gets going then we will see both in facts and in amount of ads and depth of resources the economic strength of the local dispensaries.


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