Aspen is holding off on medical pot rules |

Aspen is holding off on medical pot rules

Aaron Hedge
Aspen Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado

Whether it’s appropriate for an elite mountain resort town to play host to medical pot shops is certainly debatable.

But Vail is leaning negative on the question. Its Town Council approved a ban Tuesday on marijuana emporiums in the city limits. The increasingly exclusive resort town presents a stark contrast to Aspen, which Mayor Mick Ireland has said he is trying to keep a little more laid back.

And while the mayor says there has been no local discussion for a similar ban here, Chris Bendon, the head of Aspen’s community development department, said the city is not taking any action until something big happens at the state level.

“There’s been a lot of movement at the state level,” Bendon said. “What is fine and acceptable today might be different in three months because community opinion changes.”

As the Colorado weed debate heats up on the state level in both parties and local moratoriums abound, Gov. Bill Ritter is expected to sign legislation that would grant municipalities the right to disallow the shops.

The owner of one Aspen’s four shops, Brett Nelson, says it’s business as usual until the debate comes to a head.

“Everybody’s in a holding pattern, which is nearing finalization,” Nelson said, adding that he thinks local government should have the purview to control the budding industry. “Can I praise or condemn Vail? No; it’s up to licensing authorities, and I think that’s good.”

But sitting next to a decorative weight system in his shop, Ute City Medicinals, that he calls “The Weights of Justice,” Nelson later said: “Vail sucks.”

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