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Dacono keeps dispensary ban in place

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Medical marijuana shops to close before spring special election

By Ben Wiebesiek

    DACONO — Last month, Dacono voters approved the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, which mirrored results across Carbon Valley and at the county and state level.
    This development prompted councilman Steve Bruno to ask if the city’s ban on medical marijuana dispensaries was the will of council’s constituents.
    “That is my concern. My concern has been from the beginning this needed to go to an election in front of the people,” Bruno said during the Nov. 26 council meeting.
    A petition, turned in to the city last month, calls for a special election this spring, and Bruno said the Dec. 31 ban on dispensaries should be tabled until that vote.
    A letter from a lawyer representing local dispensary Mary Janes argued that if Dacono voters approved recreational marijuana, then they were likely to support medical marijuana dispensaries.
    But councilman Joe Baker appeared flustered by this line of logic.
    “As we’ve had this debate and discussion and all the media and the press and all the stuff back and forth that we’ve had for the last three years, it’s always been this medical issue, medical issue, medical issue,” Baker said. “And now you have an attorney writing a letter saying, ‘Well, since 64 has passed.’ I’m confused, is there a difference between a medical strain versus a recreational strain?”
    Councilwoman Gen Schneider interjected that the lawyer was talking about a correlation in support for both uses.
    “Hang on, please, I wasn’t done,” Baker said. “But speaking to lines as far as, you know, what’s real and what’s not. So if there’s a medical situation where this is medical, medical, medical, then we should not be talking about 64.”
    Schneider compared marijuana to a popular drug taken for erectile dysfunction.
    “As for your strain, do you put a strain on Viagra? Is there a medical…” Schneider began to ask Baker.
    “I don’t need to get into that councilor. And I don’t need you to tell me what another councilmember is telling me what’s going on. I can interpret anyone’s conversations. So please refrain from doing that,” Baker said.
    Baker said the ban wasn’t putting the local dispensaries out of business, because the owners could set up shop elsewhere. Then, if a special election passed in the spring, those businesses would be able to return.
    But Bruno disagreed, arguing the dispensaries would struggle if forced to uproot between the start of the ban and the election.
    “The concern here is that if you have loss of income for three or four months, that will kill most businesses,” Bruno said. “We could have had the opportunity to put it to the people, and it was shot down. That is what I asked for when we had the meetings.”
    Bruno called for a vote to advise city staff to draft a resolution pushing back the effective date for the ban.
    Bruno, Schneider and councilman Kevin Plain voted in favor of drafting the resolution. Baker and council members Michael Ayres and Peggy Randolph were opposed.
    With council deadlocked, Mayor Charles Sigman cast the tiebreaking vote to uphold the ban.
    “I know on the petition side of things, I was approached ... and he started telling me that the city of Dacono is going to lose 10 percent of its sales tax. Well, that’s not true. It’s not 10 percent, it’s three. It’s been stated several times over,” Sigman said. “And, you know, it’s one of those things, are we talking medical marijuana or are we talking about Amendment 64? That’s the thing. You keep bringing up 64, 64, 64. Well, you know, we’re not talking about 64.”