RIDGWAY – The Town of Ridgway has joined the ranks of other municipalities, including Telluride and Montrose, by passing a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries while its elected officials take time to understand what the issues and concerns are surrounding dispensaries and whether further regulator measures are needed.
After discussing the issue in executive session on Oct. 14, members of the Ridgway Town Council adopted the emergency ordinance, which prohibits medical marijuana dispensaries.
“Staff presented council with their concerns on the dispensaries and we came out of executive session and passed a moratorium on dispensaries,” Ridgway Mayor Pat Willits said in an interview on Tuesday. “After hearing what was going on in other communities, there may come a time when one could come here and we need more time to understand what the issues and concerns are.”
On Monday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder issued a memorandum to federal prosecutors in the 14 states that allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes that his department is not interested in prosecuting patients and distributors who are in compliance with state laws. Amendment 20, which allows the use of medical marijuana in Colorado was passed by voters in 2000. Several dispensaries have been opened lately in Olathe, Delta, Grand Junction, and Durango.
Willits said that nobody, to his knowledge, had formally submitted an application for a new business license to open a dispensary in Ridgway but understood that the town had received several inquiries about opening one.
TNCC Seeks Grant Money, Could Expand Work Into Ouray County
A group of representatives representing Ouray County, the Town of Ridgway, the City of Ouray, San Miguel County, the San Miguel Power Association and SourceGas last week agreed to support a proposal from The New Community Coalition that would seek a grant opportunity from the Governor’s Energy Office to expand TNCC’s work by funding a part-time staff person in Ouray County.
TNCC already works in collaboration with the towns of Mountain Village and Telluride, San Miguel County, and SMPA to develop a greener built environment, reduce the region’s carbon footprint, expand recycling programs, and increase energy efficiency.
According to Ouray County Commissioner Keith Meinert, who presented the information at the Oct. 12 Ridgway Town Council meeting, money has been allocated from the Department of Energy that is intended to establish regional sustainability coordinators across the nation. A portion of that money was given to the state so it may determine how to allocate the money into the state’s rural areas. With $3 being allocated per capita in rural areas, Meinert said these rural regions need to be big enough so that enough money would be allocated to be effective in sustainability efforts.
With that in mind, he said it makes sense that the municipalities in the region join together and make TNCC its regional sustainability group since it has been doing it for the past several years. Meinert said that now that the regional framework has been set up, TNCC plans submit the application for the grant money by the end of this month.