Avon takes moves to ban retail marijuana
AVON — Town Council members took the first step toward banning retail marijuana sales and grow operations at the April 22 meeting, passing on first reading an ordinance that would ban retail and grow operations in town.
The council voted 6-1 for the ban, with council member Jake Wolf casting the lone dissenting vote. In casting his vote, Wolf noted, as he has in the past, that more than 70 percent of town voters in 2012 voted to approve Amendment 64, the state constitutional amendment that legalized the possession and consumption of marijuana by people 21 and older.
The amendment also gave towns and counties the authority to either approve or deny retail sales. Eagle County and the town of Eagle are currently the only local jurisdictions that have approved retail sales and grow operations. Like Vail, Avon had enacted a moratorium on applications for retail and grow licenses in town. But, facing a June 1 deadline to either extend the moratorium or enact a ban, Avon’s council chose a ban.
Contacted after the meeting, council member Chris Evans said he doesn’t believe voting for the ban on sales violates the will of town voters.
Use in town is still allowed, Evans said. In addition, there are few locations in town where zoning might allow a shop, Evans said.
What Evans didn’t say is that there will almost certainly be two or more retail operations in Eagle-Vail in the near future.
Both Evans and Mayor Rich Carroll said they voted for the ban at least in part because of the image town officials are trying to create for the town.
Carroll said the town is working to be a complement to Beaver Creek, as well as a place that families want to visit and live in.
“I don’t think retail (marijuana sales) enhance that goal,” Carroll said.
Second reading of the ordinance — which would grant final approval — is set for May 6.
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Organizers turned to the same strategy that marijuana activists used to decriminalize pot possession in 2005: “We’re talking about not putting people in jail.”