Town to ask Kremmling residents if they want the ban on marijuana-based businesses lifted

Marijuana Plant Source: Wikimedia Commons

A year ago, Mark Wellstone of Blue Heron Dispensary in Oak Creek, Colorado asked town trustees to consider lifting the ban on cannabis-based businesses in Kremmling to open the possibility of establishing a dispensary in Town. Ultimately, he asked for the question to be taken to voters in the April 2020 election.

The town trustees agreed, and now Kremmling voters can expect to find a ballot question asking whether or not to lift regulations prohibiting cannabis-based businesses within Kremmling.

After Amendment 64 passed and made marijuana legal in 2012, the Town of Kremmling responded to vocal citizens against marijuana and effectively halted all discussion in 2013 by passing an ordinance prohibiting all marijuana-based businesses in Kremmling.

Interestingly, when votes for Amendment 64 are analyzed within Kremmling and the surrounding areas, the vote was in favor by a narrow margin of 630-625. With the upcoming ballot question in April, only residents living in Kremmling will decide whether the Town opens discussions on marijuana-based business, and Town trustees are waiting for direction from their constituents on how to proceed.

Trustee Erik Woog explains, “The public needs to make a decision on whether or not we lift that moratorium. Do you, or do you not want, the Town of Kremmling to move forward in the creation and adoption of an ordinance to allow the retail sale of cannabis product? Do you want us to move forward with this, or do you want us to maintain the position of zero marijuana?”

If voters say yes, the Town trustees will begin work to craft, shape and mold what will be allowed in Kremmling.

“We will get together and decide exactly what it looks like,” said Woog who also said more public input would have to be sought. Planning and zoning would also be included in the decision making process.

From the audience, Chris Sammons, stated, “The retail sale of marijuana and the marijuana question is long and complex. Aside from the retail sales, medical marijuana, grow facilities… I am not clear if the ballot question we are posing lifts all of it or part of it.”

She continued asking if it can be lifted in stages and increments and then asked, “What does lifting it mean? How much control as a board, as a town, and as citizens do we have?”

Town Manager Dan Stoltman replied he would seek legal counsel, and then assured, “If we lifted the ban, the Town would have full authority over what is allowed or is not allowed.”
Currently, Fraser is the only town in Grand County that has allowed retail dispensaries within their town limits and could serve as a model for Kremmling if voters say yes. Other licensed marijuana business are in unincorporated Grand County (including Tabernash) and include: two licensed grows, one medical one retail; four licensed infused product manufacturers, two medical and two retail; and four licensed dispensaries, three retail and one medical.

Stoltman expects to have the initial wording for the ballot initiative in time for the meeting scheduled on Wednesday, February 5 at 6 p.m. in the Town Hall. The candidate race will also be finalized by then. Currently, five applications have been picked up for the three seats, but only two have been returned.

The ballot is a mail-in ballot this year and will be mailed on March 15.