Dinosaur voters have opportunity to vote on pot | CraigDailyPress.com

Dinosaur voters have opportunity to vote on pot

An initiative on this November's ballot gives Dinosaur residents the opportunity to decide if they want medical and recreational marijuana in their town.
Patrick Kelly

Dinosaur resident Tamara Lee said she was thrilled to hear an initiative on this November’s ballot might save her a significant trip when purchasing her husband’s medicine.

Tamara, 59, a 14-year Dinosaur local, regularly travels two hours to purchase medical marijuana for her husband, Hollis Lee, at Moffat County’s only dispensary in Craig.

“That’s quite a bit of distance,” she said.

Hollis, 73, is a retired oil field worker who was injured in car accident and prefers to use medical marijuana instead of highly addictive synthetic opioid painkillers.

“He was hurt in a really bad car accident,” Tamara said. “It just messed up his entire back and the back of legs. He walks with a cane.”

Despite rehabilitation efforts, Hollis still suffers from a significant amount of pain and finds marijuana a much more desirable alternative to prescription painkillers.

“He won’t take that,” Tamara said. “You worry about addiction. He’s too old to be addicted to pills.”

If Dinosaur voters pass Measure 3A this November, Tamara may have the opportunity to purchase her husband’s medicine in Dinosaur.

The ballot question, if successful, would permit the cultivation and sale of medical and recreational marijuana, along with the facilities necessary to do so.

Two other questions regarding marijuana are also on this November’s ballot and would establish taxes on the sale of the plant within the town if 3A is successful.

Measure 3B would establish an operational tax of $5 on every transaction involving marijuana, estimated to create $40,000 in new revenue, and Measure 3C would establish an excise tax not to exceed 5 percent on the sale of marijuana between manufacturers and distributors, estimated to create $50,000 in new revenue.

The Dinosaur Town Council referred the measure to a vote in a 4-2 vote in August.

Town Councilmember Dave Heinrich said he voted in favor of the initiative because he has no problem with pot and believes the industry could bring additional revenue into his town.

Heinrich said law enforcement was the main concern discussed before the town council referred the initiative to a vote.

“If it were to pass here, the main sales would be out of Utah,” he said. “But that’s Utah’s issue. That’s not our issue — what they do with it what it’s bought is on them.”

As an incorporated town, Dinosaur is statutorily obligated to provide law enforcement services, which it currently contracts through the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office.

Moffat County Sheriff KC Hume said there are currently two deputies who reside in Dinosaur but it would be jumping the gun to say how legal marijuana would affect law enforcement efforts in the area.

“I think it’s premature to make that assessment,” he said. “It’s a ballot initiative. It hasn’t gone to the voters yet.”

Hume said Dinosaur already sees a lot of highway traffic out of Utah for alcohol and lottery sales.

“Once the lotto gets up there a little bit, it’s nonstop,” he said.

Paul James, marijuana advocate with the Craig Apothecary and Committee to Grow Craig, said he is happy to hear Dinosaur is considering the initiative but it might be to the detriment of other areas in Moffat County.

“I don’t think that’s very good for Craig,” he said. “At least we might get people stopping for gas on their way to Steamboat.”

James said even without recreational sales in Craig, people traveled through the area to purchase their product in Steamboat Springs. If sales were permitted in Dinosaur, those individuals would likely not be driving through Craig anymore.

He said Dinosaur’s initiative puts Craig even further behind the eight ball in terms of capitalizing on tax revenue from the marijuana industry.

“It looks like everywhere is adopting this to save their economies, and we are sitting here with the lights off,” he said.

Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.

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