County, Steamboat and Oak Creek voters OK marijuana dispensaries

Advertisement

photo

Kevin Fisher, co-owner of Steamboat Springs dispensary Rocky Mountain Remedies, was all smiles Tuesday night as election results were tallied. Voters in Steamboat Springs and Routt County rejected bans on medical marijuana dispensaries.

Election 2011

Click here for complete coverage of this year's races and issues.

— Medical marijuana businesses in Routt County, Steamboat Springs and Oak Creek aren’t going anywhere — at least as long as local voters have something to say about it.

Voters overwhelmingly supported the continued operation of medical marijuana dispensaries, grow operations and infused-product makers by defeating three proposed referendums to ban them. Only the town of Yampa approved a ban. Yampa doesn’t have an existing medical marijuana business.

More than 54 percent of county voters rejected the ban proposed by Referendum 1A, which means Aloha’s in Milner can continue to operate. Opposition to medical marijuana business bans was even greater in Steamboat and Oak Creek, where voters defeated their respective ballot measures with 60 percent of the vote in each community.

“We have always known that Steamboat is a compassionate community,” said Kevin Fisher, co-owner of Rocky Mountain Remedies, Steamboat’s first dispensary, which opened in fall 2009. “This vote merely codifies that. We also understand that the supporters of our industry have entrusted us to operate our facilities in a responsible manner. Let me assure everyone that their faith is well placed, and we will continue to function in a manner that is in unambiguous compliance with state law.”

Steamboat Springs Police Department Capt. Joel Rae, who publicly supported a ban of medical marijuana businesses, said he was disappointed in the vote.

“But I have complete respect for the democratic process,” he said. “We’ll continue working, doing our education efforts and working with the dispensaries with the regulations our Steamboat Springs City Council has set forth and the regulations the state has set forth.”

Colorado voters approved the use of medical marijuana for certain conditions with a doctor’s recommendation when they supported Amendment 20 in 2000. About 65 percent of Routt County voters approved the constitutional amendment.

Since the industry exploded in 2009, five medical marijuana dispensaries have opened in the county, including three in Steamboat Springs and one each in Milner and Oak Creek. A sixth dispensary in Yampa opened and closed in that time.

A separate grow operation is located in Oak Creek, and Steamboat resident Lisa Kamieniecki makes marijuana-infused products.

The Steamboat Springs City Council approved a revision to its medical marijuana ordinance in June to regulate D&C Medical Marijuana & Therapeutic Massage, Natural Choice and Rocky Mountain Remedies in compliance with Amendment 20. It’s essentially the same ordinance City Council members first approved in January 2010.

However, because the ban failed, another ordinance approved in July will take effect after Tuesday’s vote is certified. The ordinance recognizes the commercial businesses — dispensaries, grow operations and infused-product makers — created by state legislation in 2010. It also would permit Kamieniecki’s infused-product business to continue to operate. Her business wasn’t authorized by the previous ordinance.

Aloha’s owner Chris Ward said he lost a lot of sleep leading up to the election and was relieved upon hearing the results.

“I’m happy and excited to see everything work out,” he said. “We’ll do our best to make sure the county and everybody else are happy with us. We’ll obey all the laws and be compliant and do what’s expected of us.”

Ward will operate the only medical marijuana business in unincorporated Routt County. The Routt County Board of Commissioners previously approved a ban of all future medical marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas of the county, including Milner.

Lisa Watts helped lead a group to oppose the medical marijuana businesses. Her group met with organizations throughout the county in the months leading up to the election.

“Our goal from the outset was to increase awareness and educate people about the negative impact that the medical marijuana dispensaries are having in our community,” Watts wrote in an email Tuesday night. “We feel that we were successful in that effort. At this point, marijuana — medical or otherwise — remains illegal, so the long-term future of the dispensaries remains to be seen. ”

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

Stephen Evans 2 years, 5 months ago

Justice prevails!!! The good guys won. We have come a long way. Perhaps we should work to ban The evil drug alchol in SS. Alchol kills marijuana heals Captn steve

0

wzdeer 2 years, 5 months ago

Now if Chris Ward could start to market his shop a little more professionally, it would help out everyones perspective of this industry. I personally think it was his marketing that stirred this up in the first place. Grow up Chris!

0

cityworker 2 years, 5 months ago

The voters have spoken, whether you like it or not Joel Rae...but you being a City paid employee should have never spoken publicly about this issue anyway, it's not your job! Now do some real work and keep your mouth shut about like the rest of us and serve our constituents!

0

muck 2 years, 5 months ago

So Lisa you sure hate TAXES! You just WASTED hard earn tax payers money! SHAME ON YOU!! You should fit this bill!

0

cheesehead 2 years, 5 months ago

Lias feels she was successful in her efforts. I don't understand how this got on the ballot to begin with. The vote results for Steamboat stayed relatively unchanged from the Amendment 20 vote, which to me suggests this whole ordeal was a big waste. Instead of a group collecting enough signatures to show that this was a large concern that warrants a vote, a small group bullied their way in to try and close a local industry. Is this normal or am I missing something?

0

housepoor 2 years, 5 months ago

The mmj results are the same as last time, the City Council should reimburse the County Clerk for wasting the tax payers money by putting to vote something that was already approved by the majority of voters in a general election. They listened to a special interest group that didn’t agree with outcome of the first vote and were too cowardly to make a decision on their own in a public forum.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 5 months ago

"We feel that we were successful in that effort."

Well, those two were disastrous for their cause. Now the MMJ businesses have a big electoral win and no city council can act against them without risking being recalled. And if someone wanted to open in unincorporated Routt County such as North Routt then the CC would have to consider repealing their ban of new MMJ businesses because the applicant would be confident they could get the signatures and win at the polls.

Instead of leaving the issue in limbo as to what local voters think and so being able to show up in numbers at public meetings to pressure elected officials, they pushed it to the ballot box where they lost decisively.. So now elected officials know which side has the votes and it isn't Watts and Victory.

0

Kristopher Hammond 2 years, 5 months ago

Cheese and poor: It's a free country. You can put anything on the ballot, even if it is stupid, as long as you jump through the right hoops. Deer: agree completely. Again, it is a free country, but just because you CAN say something, doesn't mean you SHOULD. Knowing the difference and evaluating the consequences is called higher order thinking. Are you reading this Mr Ward?

0

trump_suit 2 years, 5 months ago

Shawant, I believe that the point is the anti-MMJ crowd did NOT jump thru the right hoops. Somehow they got the County Commissioners and the City Council to put this issue on the ballot without the proper number of signatures. Try that for a pro-mmj ballot issue and see how far you get. It is time for the county to revisit their decision and at least place that countywide ban on the next ballot. (Want to bet it gets overturned if put to a public vote?)

I will ask again to the entire anti-mmj crowd. How many times will you make us all pay taxpayer dollars for the electorate to come to the same conclusions? It is time for you to accept that your fellow residents of Routt County support this business.

It is also time for these businesses to conduct their operations in such a way that children and those adamantly opposed to MMJ do not have to see it or smell it. Advertising does not need to include over the top Cheech & Chong humor to be effective. The Pilot does not need to print full color front-page pictures of MJ plants and awards.

0

housepoor 2 years, 5 months ago

shawant, That is my point. The City Council voted to allow them to not jump through those hoops!!!!! They should have been required to gather the necessary signatures to get it on the ballot.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 5 months ago

Irony of the situation is that Watts and Victory were cursed by getting what they asked for.

The No on SB700 people had to get organized to get the signatures. That organization helped them in the campaign.

For this election, Watts and Victory never even created a campaign organization (although somebody made and distributed signs) and made goofy statements about pro-mmj supporters registering voters was interfering with the electoral process. If they had been forced to get signatures then they probably would have gotten organized because the mess that was their campaign would have problems gathering enough signatures to put the measure on the ballot.

0

JJ Southard 2 years, 5 months ago

I have a couple points....

First of all, Scott, thank you for your pro-mmj efforts, but now it's time to post your every-20-mintues-comments and view points in other threads and topics. Unincorporated Routt County will never have another MMC besides Aloha's due to their ordinance... Look into things before you spew mis-info... But, I do admire your zealousness. Also, even being one of the individuals that founded our more discreet, smaller-scale, mom & pop MMC (Natural Choice Co-op), I don't think Steamboat will be any more of a "Pot Toen USA" than it was 3 years ago. Every ski town is full of good-time, go-getters and marijuana has been a part of that forever. The presence of MMC's only assures the safe, regulated access of medical grade cannabis to those who need it. Steamboat is still SKI TOWN USA and it always will be. (The whole BTUSA is retarded in my opinion, but whatever).

As for Lisa Watts.....Maam, time to hang your hat, you and your constituent's efforts FAILED. It is NOT your job, nor the job of our local police, doctors or school teachers to enforce ambiguous Federal Laws. If you don't like the way our community operates, MOVE OUT! The majority of us don't want your kind around here anyways. Grand Junction seems like a good place for you.

Yampa Valley Medical Center may want to have a meeting with it's upper Doc's and come to a consensus of support with it's community.

What do you have to say, Wiggins? I'd like to know. More of a % of our town supported MMJ (60%) than supported Garrett Wiggins for his nomination.... Hmmmmmmm.... I a venture to guess a revote won't pan out so well for ole Wiggy. Time for some integrity, Sheriff!

I have to say, Congrats to Aloha's and Mary's too. Eventhough, I do NOT support the advertising tactics of some businesses. It is a free country we live in and if I were to tell somebody how to handle their lives, I might as well go hang out with Lisa Watts, Dr. Victory, Dr. Harrington and Wiggins. I think it's about time we all just minded our own business and started focusing on REAL CRIME.

0

steamboatsconscience 2 years, 5 months ago

Good points JJ. We won. Wedal, muck, et al,grow up and stop with the childish pot town crap. You stoop to the level that Watts and Victory did. Unfortunately we have not seen the last of these women, I expect to see them try again next year, voters be damned. They are on a crusade. Dont give them ammunition.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 5 months ago

JJ, My post acknowledged that there was a county ban, but also that after this election that someone wanting to open in the county could feel that they'd be able to get the signatures and win at the ballot box. In particular, if a local wanted to open a north Routt dispensary then there would be a lot of pressure for the county to undo their ban and allow it.

It was Watts and Victory that said we'd be Pot Town USA unless it was banned. Election results indicate to me that the voters are not afraid of that label. And as a place that voted 3-2 for MMJ businesses then we will certainly get national notice as friendly place for MMJ. It has long been noted that SB has as many liquor licenses per capita as any other city and that doesn't scare us. Be as brave as the voters and don't let a label such as Pot Town USA scare you. The ammunition that Watts and Victory need is not Pot Town USA, but proof that local dispensaries are hooked up with gangs or Russian mafia or such.

As for Wiggins, I think he wants to be Sheriff so badly that he won't let his dislike for MMJ cost him the job. Remember he managed to avoid the dispensary issue during his campaign for sheriff.

Steamboatconscience, Pretty weak and immature for someone that posts anonymously with the word "conscience" in their name to show the lack of respect for others by misspelling other people's given names.

0

JJ Southard 2 years, 5 months ago

I knew you couldn't keep your foot in your mouth, Scott. Lay off the coffee this morning. Man, got an answer (excuse, explanation, garble, etc) for everything.

0

jimmmmmm 2 years, 5 months ago

Dr. V and Lisa,

Your passion for this is undeniable, and it could be put to good use in this community-if only all your efforts were put towards a legitimate cause....say towards ridding the county of meth makers/dealers/etc......or maybe prescription drugs......or cocaine. You know, real problems that no one will argue with you about. Real problems ladies.

0

steamboatsconscience 2 years, 5 months ago

sorry wedel it was a typo, but you were being immature with your comment on the other article, saying "We're Pot Town USA! Get used to it!" Childish as I stated. Sorry to bruise your ego.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 5 months ago

The point of "Pot Town USA! Get used to it!" is not that there will be more dispensaries than bars in SB or that everyone will be stoned all the time.

It is about taking a label that is meant as an insult and saying it isn't an insult anymore because it doesn't sting anymore. 'We're here. We're queer. Get used to it!" was used by the gays to take control of the word "queer" away from bigots that used it as an insult.

"Skit Town USA, not Pot Town USA" was a primary campaign slogan for the anti-mmj folk. Well, now that the voters have sent a strong message then it is time to take control of that and show it is not a damaging insult. That yes, being called "Pot Town USA" is as meaningless and irrelevant as claiming to be "Bike Town USA".

0

cheesehead 2 years, 5 months ago

Jump through the right hoops or know the right people?

0

steamboatsconscience 2 years, 5 months ago

Scott I can guarantee that at least 40% of the voters wont get your point. Dont push it.These zealots will not go away.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 5 months ago

Cheesehead, Considering the public interest in this election, it was not totally corrupt for the council or commissioners to put it to the ballot. Though, it was certainly inconsistent for the city council after making SB 700 opponents signatures.

But, in hindsight as I said before, it probably hurt the pro-ban folks because they never did get a campaign organization that would have been needed to get signatures.

0

BellaDonna 2 years, 5 months ago

I believe that all parties involved take a deep cleansing breath and a step back, relax. I am glad to leave the debate to the people who truly love it and wish to fight for this cause, I can say that I am happy it is over and that RMR can continue to operate. It does not boggle the mind that Wiggins went after this tenaciously, obviously he is passionate. I hope he can act on his professionalism and duty and move on. The ads that are displayed for the entire community can be graphic and inappropriate, I send them to a friend who is an attorney in MN her and team of law enforcement get a kick of them. They are dealing with meth addicted moms leaving babies in the care of their meth head friends, their friends being shot and killed while trying to make their little world a better place. We are fortunate to call this valley our home, we are blessed that the headlining news is Medical Marijuana and not kidnapping and other nefarious activities. Thanks

0

rexrox77 2 years, 5 months ago

KUDOS TO STEAMBOAT AND ROUTT!!!!, HOME RULE RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why was a cop stationed in the old courthouse right outside the polling place? ISN'T IT ILLEGAL TO POLL WITHIN 100 YARDS OF A POLLING LOCATION? OOOOOOOOOOOOOO, WE ARE SCARED!, IF WE GET BUSTED WITH OUR AVERAGE SIZED STASH WITHOUT A SCRIPT, WE GET A BIG $50 FINE FROM JUDGE JIMMY, AND LAUGH ABOUT IT LATER, EVER SINCE THE 80s.

I HOPE THE ILLEGAL POLLING FINE IS A LOT MORE, BUT PROBABLY NOT SINCE SCALPING TICKETS IS VIRTULLY LEGAL IN THIS STATE. THE COPS STARTED THIS REFERENDUM, AS DISSAPOINTED AS THEY ARE, THEY SHOULD BE GLAD WE DON'T HAVE THE METH PROBLEM OF CRAIG!

It was really funny when I heard a girl say to the courthouse cop, "Why are you here, in case a riot breaks out?". I felt like making an issue of it, BUT, you can't fight city hall, even when they are in the minority, BUT WE CAN VOTE THEM OUT!

0

bandmama 2 years, 5 months ago

Ok... lets keep an eye on what has been gleaned. "Pot Town"??? Grow up. a MAJOR step has been made. Screw the smart a&& comments. A legit med/drug/pharm that has been given a very negitive name has just been proven by a major vote to be valid. Let's skip the Cheech and Chong mentality out of it and make it nationwide. It means more to some than others. If you want to toke to get high, go screw yourself. If you want to toke to help with a medical issue? YES!!! Let's keep the word out. AND make the voices heard. Our voting schmucky-system worked here. We need to continue the fight. And keep law abiding citizens law abiding. OR...let bandmama rant on an over crowded prison/legal system...... Would I be forward in saying, "YO 311"????

0

rexrox77 2 years, 5 months ago

To Bandmama, Point taken, but the Cheech and Chong mentality is long forgotten as such, we have our own reasons for our support. Sure many just want to toke and others have gleaned great benefits, but there is a great GREY area between the two that we will never know. Personally I think weed is a cure for alcoholism, I am over 50 and I have seen great differences in the positive versus other attitudes of many people on weed versus anything. ALSO, I had 20/20 vision all my life until the last few years when I can't read small print without help, but on the rare occasions with the benefit of THC provided by friends, I can see an elk on the Flat Tops, or a fly on a horse butt THAT I COULD NOT without such benefit. There is something magical about THC, it opens the mind, eyes, appitite, subconscience, and so many other things. Why deny such a positive thing to the public?, I am a semi-pro artist, it has helped me create at times, and has anybody been really evil on THC?, if so, please let me know! Has anybody had road rage on weed?, or really caused a major accident?

We should concentrate on keeping Meth out of the 'boat!!, RIGHT?, SPD?

0

mmjPatient22 2 years, 5 months ago

Sep-

Was there some point that you were trying to get across by referencing Ft. Collins?

As I'm sure you're well aware, this ain't Ft. Collins, and we've still got our dispensaries. Should I reference an article for everyone concerning the validity of that statement?

0

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.