Don’t let weed impair judgement
Ryan Summerlin September 4, 2013
It’s common knowledge that weed can impair your judgement
And that’s not just when you ingest it.
In the coming weeks, the town of Eagle is scheduled to debate the regulations for retail marijuana operations to comply with Colorado’s Amendment 64 rules. Additionally, the town is looking at levying a $5 per transaction occupation tax on marijuana purchases.
But before they take up those issues, the Eagle Town Board will take a formal vote about whether or not they support retail marijuana operations in the community. That is where their judgement comes into play.
Some members of the Eagle board are adamantly anti-weed. They have been honest and forthright about their opinions and I am certain it will be difficult for them to approve retail marijuana uses in town. But they need to use sound judgement, rather than strongly held personal opinions, when they cast their vote.
The citizens of Eagle have voiced their support for marijuana businesses twice — first in a municipal special election to allow continued operation of the town’s sole medical marijuana dispensary —Sweet Leaf Pioneer. Eagle voters also supported Amendment 64. If they vote against retail marijuana now, town board members can expect another municipal election in an attempt to override their decision. That’s policy-making by referendum, and it’s not the best way to govern.
Instead, town board members should accept that there is popular support for marijuana businesses and concentrate their efforts toward making fair and sound regulations to govern such operations. By charging an additional occupation tax on purchases, the town can benefit financially from retail marijuana. If members are concerned about the impact of retail marijuana in town, they can allocate that extra money to law enforcement or anti-drug education programs.
Frankly, the time to decide about whether or not to allow marijuana businesses happened years ago. At that time, the majority of the town board voted yes. Eagle could have taken a stance similar to Gypsum’s (mirrored in communities throughout Colorado) that prohibited such operations. The town board did not make that choice. That’s a lesson in being careful how you vote today, because the consequences can be far-reaching.
In the meantime, Eagle’s sole medical marijuana operation has been low profile. Given what the voters have approved, the owners of Sweet Leaf Pioneer deserve the chance to run a business that meets the state’s new model.
Retail marijuana is an emotional issue but town board members aren’t elected to express their feelings. They are elected to use good judgment and make sound decisions.
And given the town’s history, they especially need to act rationally when they are making decisions about weed.