Silt trustee Bryan Fleming favors allowing marijuana dispensaries
Post Independent Staff
SILT — At least one of the town’s trustees believes Silt could be poised to cash in on neighboring towns’ reluctance to permit recreational pot shops within their jurisdictions.
And he will get his chance to convince others on the board of trustees at a work session on July 15.
“I believe the time has come to address Amendment 64,” said Trustee Bryan Fleming at the trustees’ meeting on July 8.
With the full attention of his fellow trustees directed his way, Fleming outlined his belief that Silt should think hard about how to approach the new state law, which permits those over 21 to grow, sell, possess and use pot.
“Now that it is state law, and it passed overwhelmingly in Silt as well as New Castle, where the elected officials have basically overridden the will of the people, let’s say we move forward and say, ‘You can come to our town,’” said Fleming.
According to Garfield County Clerk and Recorder Jean Alberico, Silt voters narrowly approved Amendment 64, 1,110-1,023, a margin of 87 votes.
Fleming characterized the idea of permitting the shops in town as offering a significant boost in municipal revenues from sales taxes that would be collected on the sale of marijuana.
“We talk about a sales tax increase,” Fleming noted, referring to the trustees’ ongoing debate over a proposed 25 percent increase in the sales tax rate.
“We have a huge opportunity to collect on sales taxes” from the sale of marijuana to residents of Silt as well as the surrounding area.
Other trustees were not so sure Fleming was on the right track, however.
“I think it’s a moot point,” countered Trustee Paul Taylor, a former police officer. He noted that even if the town bans the pot stores within Silt’s jurisdiction, Silt residents are now constitutionally permitted to grow it and smoke it, and praised New Castle’s Town Council for its recent decision to impose a temporary ban on recreational pot shops.
Trustee Rick Aluise said he agrees in general with Fleming’s arguments, but added that he is concerned about “the tug-of-war between the feds and the state,” which centers on the fact that while pot is now legal in Colorado, it is illegal under federal law.
Expressing his sympathy with the goal of the new law, Aluise remarked, “Either we have states’ rights or we don’t.”
The trustees agreed that the issue needs further discussion. They instructed Town Administrator Pamela Woods to set a work session for July 15 with pot shops as the only agenda item.
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Grace Wesseling is an animal lover, a cheerleader of seven years and another soon-to-be graduate of Bridges High School, class of 2021.