Dinosaur officials mulling pot dispensaries
July 20, 2010
“I don’t have a dog in this fight. I just don’t feel it is my job to make a decision on this. I feel the folks should make a decision on this.”
Dinosaur Mayor L.D. Smith
On recent town considerations to put the future of medical marijuana dispensaries in voters’ hands
A recent proposal to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Dinosaur has prompted the town council to examine its options regarding the industry and recent state legislation.
Dinosaur Mayor L.D. Smith said a recent encounter with two prospective business owners from Utah who want to open a dispensary in late June has divided the town council's opinion on the issue. It has also prompted town officials to consider whether to put the matter to voters in November.
The town council has not yet drafted a ballot measure, and Smith said he is not sure if the council would have time to place the issue on the ballot.
"I don't have a dog in this fight," he said. "I just don't feel it is my job to make a decision on this. I feel the folks should make a decision on this."
In June, the council called a special meeting to address the dispensary proposal, Smith said.
The council informed the two people from Utah that they would need 160 signatures from registered Dinosaur voters for the council to approve the proposal, Smith said.
They then came back to the council at another special meeting with 158 signatures, but before the council made a decision on the matter, one of the council members spoke up, Smith said.
The council member said approving the signed petition would be against city ordinances considering the people collecting signatures were not registered voters of Dinosaur, Smith said.
"They didn't do it the right way," he said. "So, when it came to my attention at a meeting, these names and stuff were useless. We couldn't do anything with them and if I had, I could have opened the city to a suit and I don't want that, either."
Smith also said the two people looking to open the dispensary didn't secure a building to house the dispensary that would meet state and local regulations.
"If you don't have all of your T's crossed and your I's dotted, it would be shut down in a second," he said.
Smith said the prospective dispensary owners were wanting to open the dispensary before new state laws created by Colorado House Bill 10-1284 took affect July 1.
Town attorney Ed Sands, based in Rifle, said the new state legislation creates a moratorium on new dispensaries from opening after July 1, but dispensaries licensed at the time can remain open at least until July 2011.
Smith said he is "all for new businesses," even in the form of a dispensary.
"You know, it brings money into the city and I'm all for that," he said.
But, Smith said he remains neutral on the subject despite meeting with some residents who need medical marijuana but are forced to purchase it elsewhere.
The town council, Smith said, is not as neutral as he is.
"I got some people that flat don't want it," he said of dispensaries in Dinosaur.
At least one council member, Smith said, would like to draft an ordinance to close the town to dispensaries, but is not receiving enough support from the rest of the council.
Smith said he is "fighting the board" to not draft an ordinance banning dispensaries, but instead wants to let voters decide.
"I think that is the way it should be," he said. "Let the folks decide. I'm the mayor, not the boss."