CITY OF OURAY: Council approves marijuana ballot questions
By Sheridan Block
City council tied its hands on Tuesday evening, opting to let voters decide the fate of retail marijuana in Ouray.
During the regular city council meeting, council approved two ballot measures regarding retail marijuana: Resolution No. 6, regarding whether to allow retail marijuana stores within city limits, and Resolution No. 7, regarding an excise tax for retail marijuana sales.
Council had the power to completely ban all forms of marijuana business within Ouray but decided it would be appropriate to let voters take control of the issue, a direction set by a former council last year. The deadline to submit ballot language to the county elections official was Sept. 4.
During discussions on Tuesday, council questioned Acme Healing Center owner Chris Sanchez about the ever-growing pot industry. Acme houses three retail marijuana locations in Ridgway, Durango and Crested Butte, and the dispensaries' supplier, Grand Mesa Growers, also owned by Sanchez, is stationed in Ouray County.
Regarding retail marijuana stores, council's concerns included odors, crime and security. According to Sanchez, his businesses have had no problems in any of those areas. While scent from products is unavoidable, it is not overpowering as long as the facility has a proper ventilation system. Additionally, Acme and its grow facility are heavily secured with evening staff and numerous cameras, and Sanchez’s businesses have had no incidents of criminal activity at any of their locations.
“The industry is pretty secure,” he said. “It would be ridiculous for a person to come in, with all the cameras, especially with our location near the police… We feel pretty secure in all of our cities.”
Council member Dee Hilton said although she made her feelings regarding the substance very clear, she respects and supports council’s decision to let voters have the last say. Councilor Carl Cockle, who also expressed his disapproval of cannabusinesses in Ouray during last week’s work session, agreed that the issue must be resolved by voters.
“We’re representatives of the people but we also trust that voters will do what’s right,” said councilor Glenn Boyd.
The ballot language for Resolution No. 6 will read...