Post Independent opinion: Carbondale marijuana ordinance is too strict |

Post Independent opinion: Carbondale marijuana ordinance is too strict

It seems Carbondale may be trying to shake off its hippie image after recently passing an ordinance clamping down on medical marijuana centers.

This ordinance, which, among other things, prohibits new dispensaries from operating within 1,000 feet of schools, is just too restrictive.

And three board members were absent in the 3-1 vote. Three votes could overturn passage of the ordinance.

How did the board come up with 1,000 feet? Is there a documented problem that must be solved?

Clearly, the intention is to keep dispensaries and school children separate.

But the only kids who should be able to buy from a dispensary must have a medical marijuana card, which they cannot obtain without parental consent. The parents’ signatures must be notarized.

Perhaps the fear is that kids will get the message that marijuana is acceptable. But state voters have decided just that: Marijuana is acceptable, as medicine.

And it’s not as though pot is anything new. Kids have been able to get their hands on it long before there were dispensaries. It’s even possible that some of marijuana’s allure is taken away by making it more mainstream.

Another stipulation of the ordinance prohibits first-floor street-front dispensaries along Main Street and Highway 133. It’s odd to think that someone who needs medicine for pain would be forced to climb stairs to get relief. It’s hard to imagine such a limitation being put on pharmacies.

The restrictions on dispensaries are also more strict than they are for liquor stores. This seems to be a double standard. The town board should consider making the distance from schools the same for both types of business.

Elizabeth Murphy was the lone vote against the ordinance, not because she felt it was too restrictive but rather because it isn’t restrictive enough. Her stance that Carbondale should consider banning marijuana businesses altogether goes against voters’ wishes.

In fact, people now expect to have access to medical marijuana, and businesses have cropped up at a remarkable clip in response to that expectation. And you’d think the town might be grateful for this additional source of tax dollars.

Instead, licensed businesses are hindered by locals’ perception that enforcement will not be effective, despite safeguards put in place by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The restrictions are a surprising move in a town where cops are known to wear tie-dyed shirts.

The board should vote on this again when all members are present and lower the required 1,000-foot distance from schools to 500 feet.

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