4

Marijuana: Many ski towns allowing recreational pot sales

^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Last week, Telluride officially approved sales of recreational cannabis, joining a majority of other tourism-reliant ski towns around the state that have given an okay to the ganja. Telluride took one of the easiest routes to retail-weed approval possible, with the city council voting in an application and regulatory system nearly identical to the one that existing medical marijuana dispensaries must follow. According to the Telluride Daily Planet, MMCs have been operating for years there with no trouble.

And since Amendment 64 passed by a wide margin, recreational sales didn't have much opposition.

In April, Summit County commissioners voted to allow recreational marijuana sales and cultivation there as well. However, certain towns within Summit County have placed limitations on the industry. Frisco and Silverthorne will both allow the shops but are considering limiting the number of dispensaries to just a handful in each town.

Silverthorne is planning on putting a proposal for a 5 percent excise tax on cannabis sales before voters in November. Breckenridge has banned any new medical and recreational shops from opening up in the downtown area and is forcing the lone existing dispensary, Breckenridge Cannabis Club, to move out once its lease ends in September 2014. The measure was passed on a four-to-one vote in town council, with the majority arguing that they needed to maintain a family friendly feel in the town. The lone dissenting vote came from Councilman Ben Brewer, who argued that if liquor sales are allowed downtown, then cannabis sales should be, too.

In Routt County, Steamboat officials agreed in July to ban recreational sales from their downtown, as well as in any of the storefronts at the base of the ski hill. At the time, several councilmembers told Steamboat Today they are open to expanding zoning for marijuana shops in the future, but they need to see how things pan out in the first few years before revisiting the topic.

Over in Pitkin County, Aspen has four medical marijuana dispensaries currently operating, with a fifth on the way and at least two more in the application process. They hope to win approval before October 1 -- timing that would give them the opportunity to transition to a recreational store on January 1 instead of waiting until October 2014. This is key because the Aspen town council has proposed limiting the number of recreational shops to a number equal to that of medical marijuana shops in town as of October 1.

This plan has seen some support from existing pot-shop owners, but others have pointed out that Aspen doesn't limit the number of liquor licenses and therefore shouldn't restriict recreational marijuana licenses, either. The town has approved the licensing structure for recreational marijuana sales and will charge retailers $2,000 annually for a license to do business in Aspen. The discussion on limiting the number of recreational stores has been pushed back until October.

A similar cap is being discussed in Carbondale, up the road from Aspen.

Other mountain towns that plan to allow recreational cannabis sales include Crested Butte, Silverton and Red Cliff -- which hope to capitalize on a recreational ban in nearby Vail.

More from our Marijuana archive: "War of words, claims of nausea over criticism of free-joint rally" and "Alcohol versus pot DUIs: How do they compare?"

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.