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Vail Daily letter: Medical marijuana stores bad for Eagle County

Buddy Sims
Vail, CO, Colorado
newsroom@vaildaily.com

I would like to draw community attention to the two medical marijuana stores (one open and one opening) in Edwards, an unincorporated community under the Eagle County government’s jurisdiction.

To date, I have not been convinced of the benefits of selling medical marijuana and consider the 2000 state voter approval as not merited. Marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to other types of more serious drug abuse. Making it readily available in Edwards is the wrong course of action.

The recreational drug abuse by many of the medical marijuana dispensaries is well-documented around America, and crime and complaints have surrounded most of the stores, including the open smoking of marijuana on nearby streets and targeting school students with store advertising fliers. If they can open two medical marijuana stores, Edwards will soon see 10 more opening because the medical profits involved with growing pot are unbelievable. Medical marijuana store clerks also should be armed because of the large amounts of cash on hand (customers don’t like using credit cards) and the medical marijuana crop in the store is very valuable and easily sold on the street, if stolen. It is almost like opening a gun store – remember, all the clerks are armed.



Have the new medical marijuana stores applied for gun permits through the county sheriff?

June 19, Los Angeles marijuana store robbed of pot, cash. Robbers in ski masks got away with pot and $15,000 cash in a stickup at a Los Angeles medical marijuana store.



June 17, The Denver Post: Boulder police arrested four men today in connection with the robbery of a clinic that dispenses medical marijuana. New Options Wellness Clinic in the 2800 block of East Aurora Avenue was robbed at about 3:30 p.m.

So why would we want medical marijuana stores in Edwards when we know crime will follow?

I called several Eagle County offices and discovered that permitting and licensing are not required by these medical marijuana stores, and no one has any oversight except the state of Colorado. They don’t even need a business license?



I find it odd that the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Health and Human Services, Planning Commission, Environmental Health, Community Development and Code Enforcement have no oversight or any planning or zoning enforcement of these new medical marijuana stores.

Therefore, does Eagle County have a medical marijuana ordinance currently applicable to Edwards to authorize such sales? And how can anyone open a medical marijuana store in Eagle County without an ordinance or approval of voters or county commissioners?

Recently, the Avon and Gypsum town councils reportedly voted not to open these types of stores in their communities. Edwards does not have this vote by elected officials, so I have requested my Eagle County commissioners to bring the approval of these stores to a public vote or to process them through a rational Eagle County permit. We need some type of public oversight.

FYI: Durango on Aug. 30 froze medical marijuana store permits until October to write a city ordinance that bans them. Will Eagle County follow?

The article in the Vail Daily, “Another marijuana dispensary planned,” by Sarah Mausolf, states only 69 registered medical marijuana customers live in Eagle County.

So I am sure the increase in sales taxes will not be a consideration over my objections to these new medical marijuana stores. I consider this a misuse of county zoning laws in Edwards’ retail space, especially since seven public and private schools are within walking distance of these new medical marijuana stores. Our children do not need to be exposed to these stores and more stores to follow.

The owner of the second store coming to Edwards from Boulder writes that a “classy and sophisticated” medical marijuana store is needed in Edwards and “ultimately, a lot of what I imagine I will find in Vail are people who have had serious injuries … suffer from chronic pain” shows what the target audience will become.

These medical marijuana stores will target tourists visiting Vail during summer events and ski season! What I don’t get is that if the 69 registered medical marijuana users can grow six medical marijuana plants in their own houses, why would they need two medical marijuana stores in Edwards?

These two stores make no sense unless the new customers are either out-of-state mail orders, drive-bys off Interstate 70 or skiers who have very few illnesses to treat.

Will the Vail Valley now be selling drug use to our tourists? Will we add this to our Vail skier tourist brochures: “Medical marijuana now available in Edwards, a short 10-mile drive”? Or will our skilled orthopedic surgeons start recommending for knee operations, “just smoke a few joints”?

To allow two medical marijuana stores in little Edwards, Colorado, is an opening for disaster from the customer traffic that will follow off I-70. I do not want my little town known all over Colorado as the medical marijuana drug distribution center of the state.

Interesting that down the street in Edwards is a shop that can provide medical marijuana smokers with their pipes and bongs of choice to go along with the new stores. Isn’t that just wonderful?

If you allow these types of medical marijuana stores in Edwards, more than medical marijuana will be walking the streets of Edwards. It will become very scary for the locals, and expect many seniors and families with children to find other places to live in Colorado.

We currently only have the Sheriff’s Office patrolling Edwards at odd times, so Eagle County can expect to station two sheriff’s cars close to these stores just to keep order and to check on the forged medical documents that will surely follow.

Richard Carnes’ Vail Daily column on Tuesday explains in detail what is coming – for $200, anyone without any medical problem can get registered in Denver to buy medical marijuana.

Is there no common sense left in this county or state? As a voter in Eagle County, I strongly object to opening medical marijuana stores in Edwards or any other place in Eagle County. I did not move to Edwards to live next to two medical marijuana stores.

Medical marijuana may be legal in Colorado since 2000, but there is no place for these stores in Eagle County! I do not object to the 69 residents who use medical marijuana. I object to the thousands of future customers coming to Edwards off I-70 and the crime to follow.

Beware of what is allowed in our Edwards commercial retail spaces – the end result after a few years could destroy our vision of “why we moved here” to this mountain community! Most of us don’t even smoke and spend most of our time outside hiking, biking or skiing.

Finally, I request our Eagle County commissioners to immediately initiate a temporary moratorium at the next commissioners meeting on Tuesday on medical marijuana stores with a long-term goal of banning medical marijuana stores in Eagle County.

Buddy Sims

Edwards


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