Craig committee petitioning to put recreational marijuana before voters |

Craig committee petitioning to put recreational marijuana before voters

Sasha Nelson
Craig Press

Committee to Grow Craig has until Jan. 9 to collect the signatures of 15 percent of Craig voters in support of adding a recreational marijuana ordinance to the 2019 ballot. (Photo by John F. Russell)

CRAIG — A Craig committee seeks to give voters the opportunity to weigh in on recreational marijuana in a 2019 municipal election.

To add to the ballot an ordinance allowing the growth, manufacture and sale of recreational marijuana within city limits, the Committee to Grow Craig has until Jan. 9 to collect the signatures of 739 — or 15 percent of — active, registered voters living in Craig.

“I think the voters should have the opportunity to make their desires known on that point,” City Manager Peter Brixius said. “Should they obtain enough signatures to get it on ballots, it’s not something we would want to stand in the way of.”

The ordinance proposes to allow the following:

  • Three retail marijuana dispensaries each allowed one cultivation license.
  • No more than two cultivation licenses per person without a locally held license for a recreational dispensary.
  • No more than four licenses per person for cannabis manufacturing, including the production of edibles, tinctures, concentrates or any form of topical or transdermal solution.

The ordinance was modeled after Craig’s existing medical marijuana laws and includes a provision intended to give Craig residents a head start on obtaining the limited licenses.

One of the three licenses is guaranteed to any existing medical marijuana dispensary, and individuals holding a medical marijuana license would be eligible to apply for a recreational retail license during the first six months.

Craig Apothecary is Craig’s only medical marijuana dispensary and the place of work of Paul James, who authored the ordinance.

James said he understands those who take issue with the advantage the ordinance gives his workplace, but he said others can obtain a medical license.

“There is no limit on the number of medical marijuana licenses,” he said.

After the initial six months, if any retail licenses remain, only people living in Moffat County would be eligible to apply, giving locals an advantage before larger operators seek to move in from outside the area, James said.

The proposal codifies the location of dispensaries to restrict proximity to child care facilities, churches, parks, schools, halfway houses, correctional facilities, other retail marijuana shops and residences.

The current petition marks the third attempt by the Committee to Grow Craig to place recreational marijuana before voters, who passed a moratorium in 2014 with 59 percent of the vote.

In 2016, the committee failed to get the required number of signatures, James said.

“I’ve had people tell me that I’m dumb for doing this again.” he said. “I’m not one to give up. If we see it through to the vote, and it fails again, then I’ll stop.”

If the petition is successful, the new ordinance would appear on the ballot for voter consideration during the municipal elections April 2.


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