Moffat County commissioners place recreation pot question on November ballot

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— Moffat County voters will get to decide if they want to lift the county ban on retail marijuana this November.

The Board of County Commissioners issued a ban on recreational shops and commercial cultivation in February 2013. But it since has been pressed to reconsider its decision by Kris Brannan, who wants to open a growing operation and a retail shop called Nisbeth Gardens.

“I’d love to sell it in the county in order for us to get taxes,” she said.

The commissioners voted, 2-1 (Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe voted nay), to put the question on the ballot at their Tuesday meeting.

Brannan presented her petition of 756 signatures and asked the commissioners to either lift the ban right away or put it on the ballot to ask the people.

Grobe said there wasn’t enough research about the issue yet, and he would rather wait and see what other counties do. He also said that the ballot question would be unfair to the municipalities like Craig and Dinosaur, which had ordinances in place against retail marijuana.

Resident Ken Wergin agreed that the commissioners should wait it out.

“It’s my feeling that there’s so much unknown on the product grown,” he said. “There’s so much to think about — putting it out in the community at this point — that I have reservations. It’s a little early to be able to say anything.”

Resident Lois Wymore said she wanted Brannan to have an opportunity to see what the business could do.

“I don’t like the idea of (Brannan) not being able to try this business venture,” she said. “We don’t know what the public thinks. Let’s put it on the ballot and find out."

Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid agreed that he would like to hear what the voters say.

“I've given it a lot of thought. The Libertarian in me supports getting government to scale back its scope. The social conservative in me thinks that some things need to be controlled,” he said in a statement. “The ballot question will be non-binding on the commissioners. The buck will still stop with us. Speaking for myself, I will abide by the will of the people.”

Medical marijuana, however, is allowed in Craig.

Shaun Hadley, owner of Craig Apothecary, which sells medical marijuana, said he was glad the question made it on the ballot.

“I think it’s a good step in the right direction. I hope the commissioners choose to adhere to the will of the people and not (overstep) their authority,” he said. “Now, I’m personally going to really start pushing the city to allow" retail pot.

Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@CraigDailyPress.com.

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