Longtime locals make cases for, against new marijuana dispensary outside Granby | SkyHiNews.com

Longtime locals make cases for, against new marijuana dispensary outside Granby

A sandwich board outside a marijuana dispensary in Tabernash alerts drivers there isn't another dispensary for 100 miles. If Kremmling lifts its moratorium this April, that could change.
Eli Pace / epace@skyhinews.com

Two longtime locals who couldn’t be further apart on the issue seemed no less passionate as they spoke out this week over a proposed marijuana dispensary just outside Granby.

Their remarks during public comments of a Tuesday hearing for a resolution might have best articulated some of the arguments for and against the dispensary. Afterward, the town’s board of trustees unanimously approved the resolution opposing the store.

For one of the speakers, a woman who’s lived in Granby almost 28 years, stopping the “pot shop” is about the message that’s being sent to children.

“I just don’t think it sends the right message to this community where we have three schools,” said Julie Martin, who works as the town’s recreation director.

“I’m not worried about the elementary school,” she continued. “I’m worried about the middle school and high school kids, what that (kind of store) tells them in this town. It’s just a real problem for me.”

Martin had been in the board meeting well before the 6:30 p.m. agenda item, and she prefaced her remarks by saying she saw the resolution on the agenda and thought it was important enough to stay late.

And so Martin wasn’t necessarily speaking from her position with the town, but as someone who cares about Granby and shares her views with a larger number of people.

“One thing that’s never changed in the town of Granby,” Martin said, “people in the town of Granby do not want pot shops, and I do not want a pot shop in the town of Granby.”

Speaking to comments made earlier in the hearing, Martin acknowledged marijuana is legal, a black market still exists for it and people will get their marijuana one way or another, legally or illegally. Still, she came back to her concern for the children of Granby as she reiterated her problems with “the message” a marijuana dispensary might send.

“As a rec person, I feel like these are all my kids, and I think if we want to keep them on the straight and narrow as long as we can, I just don’t like the message it sends,” Martin said.

After she spoke, another woman who identified herself as a business owner and a mother echoed Martin’s sentiments.

“The town has voted,” the woman said. “The town has voiced what their opinion is on this, and we do not want a pot shop here, especially with the three schools here. It’s just insane.”

But a man who spoke after the women didn’t share their opinion at all, and he too has lived in Granby for quite some time now.

As Jason Mcswane described how he suffers from pancreatitis, he said the CBD products he uses to treat his condition have been a godsend, and marijuana has given him a viable alternative to opioids, which he does not take and does not want to.

As Mcswane spoke to the board, it seemed like he’s struggling to understand where all the opposition is coming from.

“I’ve sat here and watched the town grow and tear up beautiful ranches, and (town leaders) aren’t opposed to any of that,” he said. “And then I live on Highway 40, so I literally watch the police give DUIs constantly. I see probably 15 DUIs a week on this road right here. As far as medical (marijuana) being available to people like myself … my other alternative is opioids. I don’t use any opioids at all.”

The distance of acceptable alternatives was another big sticking point for Mcswane, as the closest dispensary is about 12 miles away from Granby in Tabernash. It not only makes for an inconvenient commute, he said, it makes him worry about his safety on the highway, especially given “the drive is quite terrible sometimes in the wintertime.”

Other speakers for the store included an employee of the dispensary who suggested this was a property rights issue, seemingly seizing on the company representative’s earlier remarks about the proposed dispensary meeting all regulations and zoning requirements.

Ultimately, the store will be decided by the Grand Board of County Commissioners, who have scheduled a hearing on the dispensary’s application for 1 p.m. Nov. 12.

More: IgadI challenges board’s letter opposing marijuana store

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