Editorial: Cautious approach OK
March 16, 2013
We’re supportive of ordinances passed by Moffat County and the city of Craig that prohibit marijuana businesses and clubs
The recent decisions by the Moffat County Commission and the Craig City Council to ban marijuana retail businesses and so-called "pot clubs" is reasonable given the many unknowns surrounding the implementation of Amendment 64.
In separate actions during the past couple of weeks, the county commissioners unanimously approved ordinances prohibiting the establishment of marijuana businesses and clubs, while city councilors passed an ordinance that prohibits the consumption of marijuana on properties zoned commercial and industrial. The city's intent with its ordinance is to prevent pot clubs from opening in the city. Pot clubs are places where people can gather to smoke marijuana that they provide themselves.
The commissioners and the councilors are taking a cautious approach to marijuana regulation, and we're OK with that. The truth is, cities and counties across Colorado are wading their way through the implications of voter-approved Amendment 64 and how best to craft regulations that reflect the desires of their constituencies.
Voters in Moffat County were against the passage of Amendment 64, with 52 percent opposing the constitutional amendment that legalizes the use and consumption of small amounts of marijuana by adults 21 and older. But the 48 percent of voters who approved of Amendment 64 shouldn't be disregarded either. In reality, the majority of voters within the city limits of Craig appear to have supported Amendment 64, which means the Craig City Council should soon engage residents about their long-term desires for marijuana regulations. Some of the factors Craig residents and politicians should consider are the message marijuana legalization and the potential presence of retail pot shops sends to youths in the community, the economic and societal impacts of increased marijuana use and how marijuana legalization fits in with community character.
Those are difficult questions that don't always have black-and-white answers. And while Colorado lawmakers hurriedly are trying to sort out how to regulate a future retail marijuana industry at the state level, there remain serious and unanswered questions about how the federal government will respond to Amendment 64 given that marijuana remains an illegal drug under the Controlled Substances Act. It's against this cloudy backdrop that Moffat County commissioners and Craig city councilors have moved forward with their ordinances in a proactive attempt to prevent unintended negative consequences from impacting their constituencies.
Nothing that has been put in place thus far can't be undone by our locally elected politicians if the community desires demand opposite action. We'd rather our community be out in front of regulation as opposed to be caught in a game of catchup, and that's why we're supportive of the ordinances approved by both the county and the city.