Medical marijuana gets initial OK in Vail |

Medical marijuana gets initial OK in Vail

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado –There are eight medical marijuana dispensaries operating within Eagle County, and if the Vail Town Council follows the town planning commission’s recommendation, there could be more.

The Vail Planning and Environmental Commission voted unanimously Monday to suggest approving dispensaries in specific zoning areas. If approved, the ordinance would allow dispensaries in town, but there would be a variety of conditions on how they’re allowed to operate.

The planning commission increased the 50-foot distance from schools and from other dispensaries to 100 feet, meaning dispensaries would be limited beyond just certain zoning districts.

The commission also added that security cameras should be located at every entrance to a dispensary and added the general use district, which includes the Vail Valley Medical Center, as one of the areas where dispensaries could operate.

The other allowable zoning districts would be Commercial Core III, or the West Vail commercial area, Commercial Service Center District, which includes the Gateway Building, Solaris and the U.S. Bank building, and the Arterial Business District, which includes the Vail Professional Building and Cascade Crossing.

Town staff stayed away from allowing areas that are tourist-based, said Rachel Friede, town planner.

Friede reminded the commission that dispensaries would be conditional uses because they aren’t categorized under medical office, retail or pharmacy, which are allowed uses defined by the town.

“It’s really a hybrid of all of those uses,” Friede said.

Vail Homeowners Association president Jim Lamont asked whether the town had to approve a law allowing dispensaries, to which Friede said it didn’t. She pointed out that Gypsum banned them, while Aspen and Breckenridge are allowing them.

Planning Commissioner Michael Kurz said he didn’t want to deny dispensaries outright because there are people with debilitating diseases who do need medical marijuana.

The commission agreed the market would eliminate the possibility of dozens of dispensaries opening up all over town.

“I think it will be self-regulated,” said Planning Commissioner Rollie Kjesbo.

The Town Council is scheduled to vote on the first reading of the amending ordinance for medical marijuana dispensaries at its Oct. 20 meeting.

Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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