Page 3 of 4
Regulations adopted by the Colorado Legislature gave ski towns and other jurisdictions latitude of restricting dispensaries by location and number, or even banning them altogether. Some towns and counties did exactly that.
Vail's town council concluded that marijuana distribution would tarnish the town's image. This was despite the vote of citizens in 2000 in favour of medicinal marijuana. Among ski towns, Breckenridge has been ground zero. There, voters in 2010 legalized possession under the local ordinance, the first in Colorado. Adverse consequences were expected. But the effect was little, reports Rick Holman, then the town police chief and now the assistant town manager.
"I think a lot of people thought the floodgate would open, but we didn't see a huge increase (in obvious use)," says Holman. "Really, we didn't see much of any change." But worrisome is the increased use in marijuana among high-school students since legalization efforts have begun, he says. That concern also resonates with Schmidt, who worries that THC will be added to candy. "If a youngster is smoking something, you can pick up on that," he says. "But if a kid has a lollipop in his mouth, how do you know?"
Judge Buck Allen, the municipal judge in Breckenridge, Vail, Avon and Eagle, says three or four cases of marijuana possession or use he saw per month were mostly incidental to traffic stops or other routine police work. Possession is no longer illegal, however.
But public use remains illegal, even in national forests. "About the only place it is 100 per cent clear you can smoke marijuana is a free-standing home that you own," advised The Denver Post.
Yet to be seen are the revenue gains for local jurisdictions. The 26 medical marijuana dispensaries in Boulder, the college town at the centre of a metropolitan population of nearly 300,000, have produced a stable $314,000 or so a year, reports the Boulder Daily Camera. But in ski towns, the revenue has been just a dribble. "It's less than we thought," says Schmidt of Crested Butte.
Some city officials suspect that transactions have slipped under table. "If you look at the sales tax from any of these, you have to wonder how they keep their doors open," says David Smith, city attorney in Durango, a college and ski town. It has eight or nine local dispensaries. He suspects under-the-table dealings. "When you have an ATM machine just inside the door, it's not hard to figure out it's mostly a cash deal."
Others say that Colorado's slow process has culled the shady operators and those left standing are almost certainly reputable.
May 21, 2013, 10:30 AM
WhistlerUnfiltered advertising campaign extends into summer More...
May 20, 2013, 8:30 AM
Police investigating mischief calls over long weekend More...
May 19, 2013, 9:15 AM
Owners watch helplessly as flames and smoke pour out of their home More...