Pros and Cons: Letters favor marijuana dispensary outside Granby by over 3-1 ratio
Letters submitted to the Grand County Commissioners ahead of the cancelled IgadI dispensary hearing highlight the main arguments from sides for and against the recreational marijuana dispensary.
Originally scheduled for Nov. 12, the canceled hearing was for a new IgadI location at 843 W. Agate Ave, which sits on unincorporated county land just west of Granby. The hearing was delayed over a question with the property lease.
David Michel, general counsel for IgadI, said in November that the company had not withdrawn its application. The hearing has not yet been rescheduled.
However, citizens in Granby and across Grand County have expressed strong opinions on recreational marijuana and the proposed location.
The county received 78 letters and emails in support of the IgadI location and 22 against it. The letters came from citizens in Granby and residents around the county.
Eight letters in favor of the location mentioned Red Dirt Hill, pointing out that the proposed marijuana shop would reduce trips over a strip of US Highway 40 considered dangerous by many in the county.
“It would be extremely helpful if I had a dispensary closer to home,” a Grand Lake resident wrote. “I now have to drive 40 minutes to Fraser and over Red Dirt Hill, which we all know is a death trap.”
Seven of the pro-IgadI letters also referenced the distances needed to drive to dispensaries and the fact that often Summit County is a more convenient place to buy marijuana products.
“I am in favor of the new IgadI,” a Kremmling resident wrote. “It would save me 26 miles round trip. It would keep me from shopping in Summit County.”
The tax revenue generated by marijuana shops was referenced 12 times by letters in support.
“In general, I don’t understand why any legal business would not be permitted to operate in Grand County,” another county resident wrote. “Since when is our community wealthy enough to refuse tax-generated revenue?”
Another popular argument highlighted the presence of alcohol sales in Granby, and a few letters reasoned that marijuana should be treated similarly.
“I believe that it is the job of parents to educate and monitor their children — the exact same way that our county treats alcohol,” a Granby resident wrote.
One Grand County resident highlighted the fact that the dispensary does not fall under Granby’s municipality: “I am for the dispensary going in for several reasons, but the main reason being that I do not believe Granby should have a say in what businesses can exist outside of their city limits.”
Those opposed to the IgadI store brought their own arguments. Nine of the 22 letters mentioned the impact the shop would have on children and/or its proximity to schools.
A letter from East Grand School District Superintendent Frank Reeves referenced the store’s proximity to the middle school and high school in town, highlighting increased drug use and the district’s safety priority.
“I know that the location of the proposed new store is a legal distance away from our schools,” Reeves wrote. “However, it is not a far enough distance to (ensure) the feeling of safety for our students and staff.”
Writers refuted the argument that the tax revenue would serve the county by weighing it against moral consequences. A letter from a Granby minister and mother pointed to mental health and violent crimes.
“There would be many innocent people who would pay the price to benefit just one — the owner of the pot shop — and, perhaps, the greed of those who would put tax revenue over human life and our way of life,” the minister said.
Multiple letters referenced and linked to episodes highlighting the detriments of marijuana in the Rocky Mountain PBS show, “Insight.”
A letter from Mayor Paul Chavoustie on behalf of the Granby Board of Trustees was also submitted to the county, which was subject to some contention at a town board meeting in late September.
The letter highlighted when Granby residents voted to prohibit medical marijuana establishments within the town in 2010 and the trustees’ following vote to prohibit recreational marijuana establishments as well.
“While the board understands that marijuana establishments are permitted within Grand County, the board and citizens of the Town of Granby have unequivocally voiced opposition to such establishments within and around the town’s community,” Chavoustie wrote.
In a separate letter, Chavoustie also requested an intergovernmental agreement with the county commissioners regarding development along common boundaries.
The fate of the store, if IgadI does not withdraw its application, remains in the hands of the Grand Board of County Commissioners.
Editor’s note: Some letters quoted in this story have been edited for grammar and punctuation.
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