Town considers marijuana regulations

Vote to ban usage on public property

By Shannon LIVICK

Dolores Star Editor

For the first time Monday, the Dolores Town Board sat down to consider regulations on marijuana and its use, since the approval of legalized marijuana by Colorado voters last November.

The first order of business: ban the drug from public property in Dolores.

"Town property would include Town Hall and the parks, the beach and streets and sidewalks," said Dolores Town Attorney Mike Green.

Green explained that the new ordinance was aimed at regulating marijuana like alcohol. Dolores does not allow alcohol consumption on town property either.

The ordinance spells out that Amendment 64 allows the possession and or consumption of small amounts of marijuana, up to an ounce or six plants, but that the amendment does not allow for consumption of marijuana openly and publicly or in a manner that endangers others.

Regardless, Green said the Town Board was just beginning its work regarding marijuana regulations. The town will have to look at in the future, regulating the commercial sale of the drug and the land use codes regarding growing it.

"We are waiting to see what the state does," he said.

But right now, "We need to manage the usage on town property," Green said.

"River Fest, for example, smoking next to people is obnoxious and harmful to others," he said, so the new ordinance won't allow it.

Trustee Mark Youngquist said he was concerned that the law didn't take into account someone having marijuana in their bag, for example, and cutting across the park.

Green explained that the act of transporting the drug on town property wouldn't be illegal in itself, unless they were consuming the drug, or violating other state laws.

The second reading of the new marijuana Ordinance No. 513 will be on Feb. 11, during which a public hearing will be held. Town Board members voted in favor of the ordinance Monday, with a 5-0 vote, trustees Ginger Black and Megan Waterman were absent.

Board members also voted to streamline the special event liquor license permitting process Monday.

Also on the agenda, was a short discussion about a last-minute meeting Dec. 28 that was held at noon. The meeting was to approve a supplemental budget and appropriation for the general fund. Only four board members were present: Mayor Val Truelsen, Ginger Black, Sandy Lauzon and Colette Heeney.

The meeting was called to order at 12:03 p.m. and adjourned at 12:20 p.m. Board members voted 4-0 to approve the supplemental budget, a step that Town Manager Ryan Mahoney said was necessary because the town was drawing more out of the general fund reserves than originally anticipated, to the tune of about $13,000, something that was done because the town spent about $11,000 on playground improvements this year and also invested in the fiber optic cable project.