Vail bans pot shops
July 7, 2010
VAIL, Colorado – The town of Vail doesn’t want pot shops in its resort community. The Vail Town Council voted Tuesday night to ban medical marijuana dispensaries effective immediately- a move made possible by a bill Gov. Bill Ritter signed into law last month.
The bill gives local governments the right to regulate and allow dispensaries – to put the measure on the November ballot for voters to decide or ban them all together.
Vail Town Council members said at a June 1 meeting they would ban the businesses once Ritter signed the law allowing it, citing the shops have no business operating in a destination ski resort town.
The town approved a 180-day moratorium on dispensaries on Jan. 19 in order to wait for the Colorado General Assembly to decide on how the state would regulate the medical-marijuana industry. The moratorium prevented any dispensaries from opening within the town.
Councilwoman Margaret Rogers was the only dissenting council member. She said the town could regulate the dispensaries, keep them in certain parts of town and, more importantly, collect tax revenues from the businesses.
Rogers spoke with city of Boulder officials last week who expect to have an additional $250,000 in sales tax revenues from dispensaries within one year, Rogers said.
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“That’s a lot of money,” Rogers said. “We are always looking to generate revenue without having to increase sales taxes and lodging taxes and real estate taxes.”
Mayor Dick Cleveland said that the 546 current medical marijuana cardholders in Eagle County make up less than one percent of the population – not compelling enough to see the need for dispensaries within Vail.
He said if people in town have to drive to Walmart to buy necessities such as underwear, it shouldn’t be that inconvenient for marijuana cardholders to drive downvalley, too.
“This shouldn’t be seen as a referendum on medical marijuana (in general),” Cleveland said. “That’s not what this is about.”
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.