CITY OF OURAY: Marijuana shops and sales tax questions likely going to voters

By Sheridan Block
sheridan@ouraynews.com

Even though city council has the opportunity to completely ban all possible marijuana businesses in Ouray before next week, the board is likely to leave the decision to voters this November.

On Monday, council held a work session to review discussions regarding retail sales and other marijuana operations in town. The discussion was originally scheduled for the Aug. 18 city council meeting but was rescheduled to a work session in order to bring newly appointed members Dee Hilton and Carl Cockle up to speed.
With the deadline for submitting ballot questions coming up next week, council had to direct staff to draft ballot language to be approved at the Sept. 2 council meeting. However, because former councils never approved ballot measures regarding the issue, the new council has the authority to establish an ordinance that would ban any and all operations within the city limits.
City Administrator Patrick Rondinelli informed council that even if an ordinance was passed, a future council could just as easily reverse the ban. “The future still has that flexibility,” he said. Although, if presented to voters this year, the decision to allow or ban operations and stores would be “locked in” and could be reversed only by another citizen vote.
“I think we’ve been promising this to the people for a year and a half now, so they’re expecting it,” said councilor Glenn Boyd. “Since we’ve already gone down this route, we should let the citizens decide what they want.”
Newcomers Hilton and Cockle were not convinced that bringing the issue to the ballot was necessary. Hilton explained that in the last week alone, she’s encountered a number of citizens and tourists that did not want any type of pot industry in town.
“Why should we be like every other town?” Hilton asked. She added that...

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