Our View: County’s pot ban at fair is reasonable

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Editorial Board, January to May 2013

  • Scott Stanford, general manager
  • Brent Boyer, editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter
  • Randy Rudasics, community representative
  • John Centner, community representative

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The Routt County Fair’s home arts competition is one of the annual highlights of the weeklong summertime celebration of agriculture and ranching, always featuring an eclectic mix of homegrown produce, homemade baked goods and unique arts and crafts creations from residents young and old. And even though the informal potpourri of submissions is what makes the fairgounds pavilion come alive during fair week, we support the Fair Board’s decision, and the Routt County Board of Commissioners’ backing, to ban marijuana-related entries. In that vein, we similarly can’t fault the commissioners for moving forward with an all-out prohibition of marijuana on all county-owned properties and in all county-owned facilities.

It’s safe to say few residents considered that November’s passage of Amendment 64 might encourage certain green thumbs in our community to enter their best marijuana plant or pot-laced edible goodies during the Routt County Fair. Even Fair Board members acknowledge that the possibility of such entries first were brought up in jest during one of their recent meetings, before they realized it might not be so funny when confronted with a potentially awkward situation come fair week.

More than anything, the issue is a reminder that Amendment 64 and its ramifications are wide-ranging and have the potential to reach into facets of our professional and personal lives not previously considered. And while that’s OK, it also makes it easier to sympathize with local governments, businesses and organizations trying to sort through pot-related issues.

In terms of the Routt County Fair, we can’t help but side with the Fair Board and the county commissioners in that the fair is as much a celebration of youths and their hard work during the preceding year than anything else. We worry about the message it would send to kids if blue ribbons were being placed on marijuana plants and products. While there has been no indication that the home arts competition suddenly would be flooded with pot-inspired entries, one certainly can’t fault fair organizers for being proactive.

More difficult decisions await entities like the Steamboat Springs City Council, which must consider the place of future marijuana retail establishments in our community. Lest we forget, 69 percent of city voters supported Amendment 64 and its legalization of the use and possession of small amounts of marijuana for adults 21 and older. That’s an overwhelming majority that cannot and should not be ignored when the city begins to discuss potential regulations.

In the meantime, we support the county’s move toward banning marijuana from its properties, including the Routt County Fairgrounds in Hayden. There is always an opportunity to revisit the decision in the future.

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