Minturn OKs pot shops |

Minturn OKs pot shops

Sarah Mausolf
Vail, CO Colorado

MINTURN, Colorado – Minturn residents voted against banning marijuana dispensaries in town, preliminary results suggest.

About 60 percent of voters nixed the ban, while about 40 percent embraced it. Those were the numbers as of 12:15 a.m. Wednesday, with 36 of 37 Eagle County precincts reporting.

It was a case where “no” actually meant “yes” – a “no” vote on the ballot question meant voters were for medical marijuana businesses. The “nos” led with 191 votes versus 125 for the “yes” column.

Despite the passion marijuana has stirred up locally in recent months, preliminary numbers suggest a modest turnout in Minturn. About 43 percent of the town’s 740 registered voters had cast their ballots, according to the 12:15 a.m. count.

Presently, Minturn does not have any dispensaries but voters gave several reasons why they’re open to the idea.

Courtney Gregory, 33, voted in favor of pot shops because he sees it as a step toward legalizing marijuana.

“Although I’m not a proponent of drug use, I think that eventually legalizing it will reduce the crime rate, the cost attributed to the judicial system and it will greatly increase tax revenue,” he said.

He dismissed the idea that medical marijuana would hurt Minturn’s character.

“You get a contact buzz just driving through this town anyway,” he said.

For many other voters, the tax revenue dispensaries could bring was appealing.

Others said the stores would give patients better access to their medicine.

Rebecca Ruck Dunn, 41, said the county needs pharmacies and medical marijuana is no different.

“If there are people with chronic pain, they should be able to get natural remedies as well as go to the pharmacy and get chemical ones,” she said.

While a majority of Minturn residents welcomed pot shops, others were less than stoked about the idea.

Ernestine Duran, 70, said she was worried younger kids would try to get ahold of joints if the shops came to Minturn.

“There are a lot of kids who are starting to grow up and they’re going to want to try it,” she said. “You know they’re going to get somebody older than them to get it for them.”

Now that Minturn residents have spoken, what happens next?

Councilwoman Shelley Bellm said she expects the town to make regulations and zoning for pot shops.

However, councilman Jerry Bumgarner said the town’s application for a business license requires the business to comply with federal laws. Federal laws still consider marijuana illegal, he said.

“In order for them [shops] to open, that ordinance would have to be changed,” Bumgarner said.

Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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