Minturn split on pot shops
July 22, 2010
MINTURN, Colorado – Minturn might let voters decide whether pot shops can operate in town.
On Wednesday, Town Council members shared mixed opinions about putting a question on the November ballot.
Under a relatively new state law, the town can ban marijuana dispensaries, regulate them or let voters decide their fate.
Councilman Jerry Bumgarner said the town doesn’t need dispensaries because people can get medical marijuana 3 miles down the road.
“We don’t have a pharmacy, so this is not an extra burden on somebody who has a license to get medicinal marijuana,” he said.
If a dispensary wanted to set up shop in, say, Minturn’s business park, and the other tenants opposed that, the landlord would be powerless to turn the dispensary down, Bumgarner said.
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“The landlord would be sued for discrimination of a legitimate business in spite of all the other guys not wanting it around,” he said.
Councilwoman Shelley Bellm said she opposes an outright ban on dispensaries, saying they could generate sales tax revenue. She said the town could regulate their location and hours.
Councilman Earle Bidez said he favors a ballot question.
“I haven’t been to any of these dispensaries, but we’re approaching it like it’s going to be a head shop with smoke wafting out of the windows and guys grooving to music with bongs hanging out the window and all that kind of stuff,” he said. “I’m assuming we can structure this so it will be a clinical office-type space. I think we can put those regulations on it so it’s not going to be something silly.”
Current town law prevents dispensaries from getting business licenses because medical marijuana does not comply with federal law.
Council plans to decide Aug. 4 whether to put the matter on the ballot.
Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.