Pot question could appear before Moffat County voters | CraigDailyPress.com
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Pot question could appear before Moffat County voters

Commissioners moving forward with November ballot measure

Audrey Danner

In other action, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved, 2-0, meeting minutes from June 8 and 22.

• Approved, 2-0, payroll warrant resolutions totaling $681,502.95 ending July 10.

• Approved, 2-0, a third quarter reimbursement claim for Emergency Management Performance Grant expenses totaling $8,159.

• Approved, 2-0, installing a 1,000-gallon cistern and a new pump at the Hamilton Community Center, and to use the existing pressure tank for potable water.

• Approved, 2-0, a proclamation to make the week of July 24 disability awareness week.

• Approved, 2-0, accepting a preliminary draft of the 2009 county audit results.

Note: Commissioner Tom Gray was absent.

The Moffat County Commission took another step Tuesday toward solidifying the future of medical marijuana dispensaries in the county.

At its regular meeting, the commission approved, 2-0, a resolution containing a ballot question for the November election.

As of now, the measure will appear before voters. However, the commission has until Oct. 6 to withdraw the question, if it chooses.

The question asks Moffat County voters if they want to prohibit dispensaries and other similar operations in unincorporated parts of the county.

The question considers banning operations allowing the distribution and cultivation of medical marijuana such as "medical marijuana centers, optional premises cultivation operations, and medical marijuana-infused products manufacturers' licenses."

Commissioner Audrey Danner called the ballot measure approved Tuesday a "place-holder," and that the county could decide to pull the measure before the election.

"This will give the citizens a chance to understand our thinking and what we are learning about it and following what is happening at the state," she said. "But, I am very clear that I am still considering whether we should put this on the ballot."

The commission met Tuesday with county attorney Jeremy Snow, who drafted the ballot measure, to discuss the measure and medical marijuana rules and regulations being developed at the state level.

Snow recommended the commission approve the measure,

considering it could be changed or removed in the future.

"You could still change your mind at this point, but it will be harder to not do this now, than if you want to do it later," he said.

Snow said the commission has until Sept. 3 to change or Oct. 6 to withdraw the ballot measure.

"I like having a resolution with the ballot question … so that the citizens really know what we are talking about with this because there is confusion already of, 'Well, the voters voted on this at the state,'" Danner said. "We voted on other topics related to medical marijuana."

On June 10, the commission extended its moratorium on dispensaries in unincorporated parts of the county for six months.

At the time, the commission said it extended the moratorium to wait and see what rules and regulations were developed from Colorado House Bill 10-1284.

The bill, which Gov. Bill Ritter signed June 7 and took effect July 1, gives local governments several options in controlling dispensaries including putting the matter before voters, Snow said.

Commissioner Tom Mathers said he would consider pulling the measure from the ballot if the state were to release rules and regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries.

"It'll be a last minute deal," he said. "And should they not come out with any rules and regulations, I think we'll just let the voters decide if they want it or if they don't want it."

The commission has not drafted its own rules and regulations, Mathers said, because it doesn't want to "do the whole thing all over again" if its regulations don't match state regulations.

Mathers said he has not heard any feedback on the issue from Moffat County residents.

Considering the lack of public input, Mathers said putting the issue to the voters would be a solution in determining which way the commissioners should head — banning or regulating.