Derek Franz
Eagle Valley Enterprise
Eagle, CO Colorado

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January 4, 2012
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Eagle dispensary is allowed to stay

EAGLE - The owners of the Sweet Leaf Pioneer, Dieneka and Dave Manzanares, were very happy late Tuesday night.

Eagle election judges had just finished counting the votes to see if the town's lone medical marijuana dispensary would be able to stay open. There were 634 votes in favor and 491 opposed.

A total of 1,125 ballots were cast in Tuesday's special election. The winning margin was 56 percent in favor and 43 percent opposed.

"We're very excited," said Dieneka Manzanares. "It's a great swell of relief. After two years (of struggling to stay open), it's finally over."

Sweet Leaf Pioneer has been permitted by the town and open for business at a location on Chambers Avenue since 2009. In February 2011, the Eagle Town Board decided to ban medical marijuana dispensaries and stipulated that the town's lone dispensary would have to close down by November.

By the end of October, the Sweet Leaf collected petition signatures and won the right to have the special election as well as stay open through the election despite the town's deadline to close.

"The help from the community was really overwhelming. We are feeling the love," Manzanares said.

Regarding future plans, the Sweet Leaf owners are simply looking forward to routine.

"We just want to run our business," Manzanares said. "We're not looking back. We're just going to move forward."

Besides the outcome of the election, some good things came out of the Manzanares's ordeal.

"It opened up a lot of doors because we were able to meet a lot of great people," Manzanares said.

The in-person voting was quiet Tuesday, but more than half of the mail-in ballots sent out were returned.

Voters polled Tuesday afternoon who supported the dispensary mostly agreed that the reason they thought the dispensary should stay put is because the town shouldn't go back on its original word.

"I voted yes because the owner has complied with everything and (the Eagle Town Board) told him yes, he could have that business, and it's unfair to say yes and then say no," said a 47-year-old woman.

"There is no reason to shut down an operation that has been in business and is succeeding and was allowed in the first place," said a young man who declined to give his exact age.


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The VailDaily Updated Jan 4, 2012 11:46PM Published Jan 4, 2012 11:43PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.