Bayfield Board Mulls Marijuana

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Bayfield trustees will discuss whether the town will allow medical marijuana dispensaries at tonight's public meeting.
The issue is back before the board after a series of public meetings, meant to make a recommendation to trustees, ended without consensus.

Public comment on the proposed dispensaries will be taken for an hour, beginning at 6 p.m. At 7 p.m., the board will hold its regular meeting, during which the issue will be debated.
The question of whether to allow dispensaries first was raised by Bayfield Town Manager Justin Clifton at the Feb. 16 Town Board meeting.

Clifton had received two applications to operate dispensaries within town limits.
The board voted to impose a 90-day moratorium, during which time Clifton would host a series of public meeting to gather input from residents about what position the town might take.

Three meetings were held between March 8 and April 12.
Attendees represented a wide range of opinion, including outspoken supporters and opponents of dispensaries.

The content of the meetings varied from the impact dispensaries would have on illegal marijuana use to comparing the dangers of smoking marijuana with drinking alcohol.
Several times, Clifton had to redirect the conversation to focus strictly on the issue of allowing dispensaries.

"Talking about whether the Constitution was written on hemp paper or not really does not have anything to do with what we're here to do, which is to decide if it's appropriate for Bayfield to have dispensaries," Clifton said at the April 12 meeting.

One idea raised was to put the issue to a vote, possibly in November.
Clifton presented examples of how other Colorado towns have regulated dispensaries.
Municipalities allowing dispensaries generally have imposed guidelines under which they can operate.

Similar to regulations imposed on liquor stores, common regulations for dispensaries have included setting a minimum distance from schools, the hours a dispensary may operate, and whether or not consumption of medical marijuana is allowed on site.

At the April 12 meeting, Clifton asked the group to focus specifically on the regulations they would like to see in Bayfield.
The group examined Durango's ordinance regulating dispensaries as a possible starting point.

Conversation stalled after the argument was made that creating guidelines under which dispensaries could operate would be tantamount to assuming the board was going to vote "yes" to allow dispensaries.

With little progress being made, Clifton closed the meeting.
"I'm comfortable to call it a night and just ask the board to say 'yes' or 'no,' hear from the people and make a decision," he said April 12.



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Source: The Durango Herald
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