Vail Daily editorial: Just act, already
July 14, 2015
William Shakespeare's Hamlet was a notably indecisive prince. His dithering brought literature one of its great lines — "To be or not to be; that is the question."
Vail's town council has now brought Hamlet-level vacillating to the topic of whether or not to allow retail marijuana sales in town. The latest act in this not-terribly-interesting play came last week, when the council approved yet another extension of a moratorium on sales. That moratorium was first imposed shortly after the 2012 passage of Amendment 64, which legalized possession, use and sale of recreational marijuana.
Since then, most other Colorado mountain resort towns have authorized retail shops. Eagle County's towns are the exception to that rule. Only the town of Eagle allows sales. That has allowed the rest of the area's retail marijuana business to open up in unincorporated Eagle County, most notably in Eagle-Vail. There are now several shops open along what some call the "Green Mile."
Vail, meanwhile, has researched and investigated the topic, and continues to avoid taking action.
Vail residents voted for Amendment 64 by a margin exceeding the 66.5 percent of the vote the amendment gained in Eagle County and far more than the 55 percent of statewide votes. As an aside, the amendment passed even in the conservative stronghold of El Paso County (the Colorado Springs area) and also passed in Fremont County, home to the state's highest-security prisons as well as the federal supermax prison for the nation's worst offenders.
Vail's substantial vote in favor of the amendment has been one of the sticking points against imposing a full ban on sales. On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of public comment at town council meetings has been against allowing sales.
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In fairness, most of the people who have bothered to address the council on the topic probably didn't vote for the amendment or have business reasons for not wanting a retail marijuana store near their storefronts. Still, there's been very little in the way of pro-pot comments in public sessions at town hall.
The view here is that Vail should just ban retail pot, at least for now. For one thing, the industry is still working itself out. Who knows which of the several shops in Eagle-Vail will still be open three years from now? Then there's the fact that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, which means it's tough for those in the pot business to do business with many banks. Anti-marijuana groups have also recently launched new legal campaigns against some businesses, filing federal racketeering lawsuits against a couple of state businesses.
Vail would be wise to sit back and wait before acting on allowing those businesses in town, and another council could easily reverse a ban passed now.
Enough dithering, folks. Just act and be done with this until, ahem, the smoke clears.
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