Vail council dodges pot issue again

Lauren Glendenning

VAIL — The town of Vail has to decide by Oct. 1 whether it wants to ban or allow the commercial sale of recreational marijuana in town.

The town council discussed new state marijuana regulations Tuesday, specifically the state legislation that outlines how recreational marijuana retail businesses will be licensed and taxed.

State legislation also paves the way for local jurisdictions to either or approve or ban retail marijuana businesses, as well as tax them locally.

The town currently has a moratorium on retail marijuana business applications that expires Aug. 6, but council members directed Matt Mire, the town attorney, Tuesday to draft an ordinance that either extends that moratorium or creates a temporary ban on commercial marijuana sales through Jan. 1, 2014. Mire will bring the ordinance back for two readings next month, with public comment opportunities at both meetings.

The council appeared divided on the issue Tuesday. Councilman Kevin Foley was not present, but has supported the issue in the past along with Councilwoman Margaret Rogers, who feels strongly about what the voters approved last November.

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“We very often have to try to determine for our constituents what they would want us to do,” she said. “There are occasions, and this is clearly one of them, where we don’t have to guess what they want us to do. They’ve told us what they want us to do.”

Councilman Ludwig Kurz said the vote tally may have suggested that local residents were overwhelmingly supportive, but he argued that the election brought out an usually large number of 18 to 24-year-olds who came out to vote specifically on that issue.

Councilwoman Susie Tjossem didn’t comment, while Councilman Greg Moffet appeared supportive of allowing the shops with heavy regulation. Councilwoman Kerry Donovan and Mayor Andy Daly want to continue to wait it out to see both how state regulations play out and how other jurisdictions handle it before making any decisions locally.

“I’m a big, fat, solid ‘maybe’ on this one,” Donovan said.

The town of Vail does not allow medical marijuana shops in town per an ordinance passed in July 2010.

Assistant Managing Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at or 970-748-2983.

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