Vail Valley Voices: Yes should mean yes in Eagle |

Vail Valley Voices: Yes should mean yes in Eagle

Jan Rosenthal Townsend
Vail, CO, Colorado

Bravo to Markus Mueller, who nailed it in his recent letter regarding the upcoming medical marijuana vote in Eagle Tuesday. Like Markus, I don’t smoke marijuana and for the record, I rarely drink alcohol.

Dan Hartman, Director of the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division of the Colorado Department of Revenue recently wrote an article in the Steamboat Pilot. He stated the medical marijuana dispensary industry has some of the most stringent rules out there and he was emphatic about the fact that banning dispensaries does not remove mmj from your community! But it does, however, remove the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division’s ability to ensure that sales are registered, monitored, are safe, secure and taxed.

I attended the marijuana panel Dec. 12, and I also heard Undersheriff Mr. McWilliams say that “if marijuana is grown in grow facilities, it is safer for residential neighborhoods because there are no illegal and unsafe rigging setups in houses.”

One thing the newspaper and Mr. Mueller failed to mention is that McWilliams also stated that they “conduct random, periodic checks on all dispensaries in the county, and to date, none of them have been in any violation.”

The requirements for a medical marijuana business are indeed very stringent and this particular business, Sweet Leaf, was given a license to operate in Eagle by our town government, has done absolutely nothing wrong and is legitimately helping patients.

That is the very reason why they should be allowed to stay in business.

Two of our town trustees (Scot Webster and Kraige Kinney) are vigilantly spearheading the “no” campaign despite the original business license being granted and the people voting “yes.” What does this say about some of our current leaders? Why aren’t they listening to their constituency — once again?

The people of Colorado voted in favor of medical marijuana back in 2000, and there was an overwhelming margin in Eagle County in favor of it.

However, like on several other contentious local issues, some of our elected politicians (and even local news reporters) have their own personal agendas and are clearly not listening to the will of the majority of the voting public.

I also take great exception to the fact that the “yes” signs (that say “No to pot shops — it doesn’t make Eagle better for families”) were placed on elementary school property. Is this setting a good example for young children? Most kids that age don’t even know what “pot” is!

This dispensary is there for legal card-holding, doctor-prescribed patients who have issues such as chronic pain, glaucoma, sleep apnea, cancer, amongst other medical ailments that marijuana is helping them with.

To me, alcohol (which can be obtained by any legal-aged person to dispense to any under-aged kid) and pain prescription meds like oxycotin, codeine, valium, ambien, etc., are just as bad to have in the hands of children, yet they are readily available in any parent’s home.

Pharmaceutical drugs are big business even though many of these drugs can have life-threatening side effects (just listen to any drug ad on TV) and they can be very addictive.

We have an abundance of liquor stores in Eagle, even though it’s a well-known fact that alcohol abuse causes accidents, vehicular deaths, domestic violence, serious health problems, etc.

Prohibition didn’t work so well. That’s why alcohol is legal.

I totally agree with the people on both sides of this issue (including the owners of Sweet Leaf) who believe that our community should work together to keep our kids away from marijuana, alcohol, prescription medicine and other harmful drugs.

Yet unfortunately, regardless of this vote, alcohol and drug consumption will continue as kids can get their hands on any number of these substances with just one phone call or text, regardless of whether there is a dispensary in town or not.

Bottom line: The vote on Tuesday is about a business’s right to continue operating in Eagle, since they were allowed to open in the first place. Sweet Leaf is a tax- and job-producing business that follows the rules and abides by the law.

Whether you use it or believe in the proven benefits of medical marijuana is not the issue at hand. The owners are asking the voters to vote against the ban of their dispensary and keep sales tax in the town. That means a “yes” vote to allow them to continue to operate.

I urge all Eagle voters to vote “yes” on Jan. 3. Your “yes” vote saves a law-abiding local business and stands up for our rights as voting citizens. Thank you!

Jan Rosenthal Townsend is an Eagle resident.

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