Yampa residents to vote on medical marijuana businesses | SteamboatToday.com

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Yampa residents to vote on medical marijuana businesses

Vote joins similar ballot questions in Steamboat, Oak Creek, Routt County

Yampa Referendum 2A

“Shall the operation and licensing of medical marijuana centers, optional premises, cultivation operations and medical marijuana-infused products manufacturers be prohibited in the town of Yampa, Colo., in accordance with the requirements of Colorado law?”

— After the Nov. 1 election, every municipality in Routt County — as well as the county itself — will have a final verdict on whether to allow medical marijuana dispensaries and grow operations in their jurisdictions.

The Yampa Town Board approved last month the language for a ballot question prohibiting medical marijuana centers and grow operations in the town.

There are no dispensaries or grow operations operating in Yampa.

November's election also will see ballot questions on banning medical marijuana businesses in Steamboat Springs, Oak Creek and unincorporated areas of Routt County.

Only the Hayden Town Council already has voted to ban medical marijuana businesses, which members did in August 2010. Hayden's elected officials did not take the issue to a public vote.

Yampa Town Trustee Jeff Drust said Friday that based on unofficial polls and surveys taken last year, the town almost is divided evenly on medical marijuana.

"People were very passionate on both sides of it," Drust said. "We just thought it was the only fair way to do it, and all of us agreed."

He said he also was in favor of the public process occurring across the county on the medical marijuana issue.

"I think it's good. I think people registered to vote, and they should be able to decide," he said.

After the town hall meetings and surveys on the issue in fall 2010, the Yampa Town Board originally wanted to hold a special election before a state moratorium on new medical marijuana businesses was lifted in July 2011.

However, since a new state bill passed this spring extending the moratorium on new businesses, the town decided to wait until the county-coordinated fall election.

Referendum 2A reads as follows:

"Shall the operation and licensing of medical marijuana centers, optional premises, cultivation operations and medical marijuana-infused products manufacturers be prohibited in the town of Yampa, Colo., in accordance with the requirements of Colorado law?"

The question will appear with state Proposition 103 (an income tax increase to support public education at all levels), the South Routt School Board election and the question about a ban on medical marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas of the county.

Drust said he couldn't begin to predict what the outcome might be.

"It's a toss-up," he said.

— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com