Vail rejects medical marijuana dispensaries
June 2, 2010
VAIL, Colo. – The town of Vail doesn’t want medical marijuana dispensaries tainting the world-class image town leaders have worked so hard to create.
The town voted against allowing dispensaries within town limits Tuesday, maintaining points made by Town Council members in January that the businesses have no place in a destination ski-resort town.
“I think they’re fine in unincorporated Eagle County,” Councilman Kevin Foley said.
The town approved a 180-day moratorium on dispensaries on Jan. 19 in order to wait for the Colorado General Assembly to decide how the state would regulate the medical marijuana industry.
The General Assembly recently passed a bill that would create a state medical marijuana licensing authority, similar to the state liquor authority, that would allow for local regulation of dispensaries through zoning and licensing. The bill also allows local jurisdictions to prohibit the businesses.
Gov. Bill Ritter is expected to sign the bill into law, said Matt Mire, Vail’s town attorney.
The Town Council voted 6-1, with Councilwoman Margaret Rogers dissenting, to prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries from operating in the town as soon as Ritter signs the state bill into law.
Rogers said she saw an example of a dispensary in the Cherry Creek neighborhood in Denver, an upscale area of Denver, that proved local jurisdictions can allow the businesses in good taste.
Rogers said she didn’t feel comfortable defeating something that voters approved and clearly want. She’d rather allow it, regulate it and, most importantly, tax it.
The rest of the Town Council disagreed.
“We’ve spent how many millions promoting this town?” Mayor Dick Cleveland said. “It seems this kind of flies in the face of the tone we’ve tried to set in this community.”