by Staff Writer
The Town of Lyons Staff held a roundtable meeting with the owners and landlords of the medical marijuana businesses here in Lyons last Wednesday evening (January 12). A second meeting for input from the general public was held Wednesday, January 19, but because of publishing schedules, that story will be in next week’s edition. On hand were: Administrator Victoria Simonsen, Economic Development and Community RelationsManager Jacque Watson, Matt & Ashley Rheingold (from Boulder) and Evan Rude who are partners at Headquarters, and Dan Ballard, proprietor of Lyons Best Confidential Care, and his landlord’s husband Nick Angelo. Missing from the proceeding were Read Spear, proprietor of The Bud Depot, and Sean Welch, proprietor of Lucky Farms. Also present, though only as “observers,” were 18 members of the public and two Trustees, Sandy Banta and Kirk Udovich.
The Town Staff was looking for a dialogue with the dispensary owners about issues like: the number of dispensaries, density, locations, distances from schools, appropriate zones, signage, setting up a licensing authority, fees, et al. Much to the chagrin of Simonsen, the discussion sometimes strayed off-topic to: anecdotal stories of Randolph Hearst and the origins of the word marijuana, boxes of uncounted petitions found in a dead politician’s closet, persecution by authorities, and three-hour bus rides to get medication. But eventually all the issues that could be controlled and regulated by the Town were touched upon.
The general feeling among the dispensary owners was that the market would and should dictate the number of dispensaries (which, to an extent it has; the number has dropped from six to four presently in operation). Everyone felt the density as it now stands was acceptable (Lucky Farms is located at the top of 5th Avenue, Headquarters is near the corner of Main Street and 3rd Avenue, The Bud Depot is in the plaza at Lyons Village Central, and Lyons Finest Confidential Care is located at the bottom of Stone Canyon). Only Headquarters falls within the state’s 1000 foot-rule, and Matt Rheingold noted that unless the Town “grandfathered” him in or reduced the distance requirement, he would be “out of business.” He also added that he was, “willing to do whatever is necessary to co-exist.”
All were in agreement that the only zones appropriate for dispensaries, production of infused products, and grow operations were: commercial, light industrial, and agricultural. There also seemed to be a consensus that residential zones were not appropriate for medical marijuana, with the caveat that “card-holders” are allowed by state constitution to grow up to six plants for “personal use.” Evan Rude suggested that, “the fees be reasonable, with a reasonable time to pay.” And on the subject of signage, which seems to have been a sticking point for many in the community, Rude made an interesting observation. He noted that there was a significant section of the Lyons community that did not like bikers, yet there is no movement by the Town to outlaw the symbol of a bike/wheel, nor the word “bicycle” from bike shop signs and windows. He felt the same rules should apply to dispensary owners that apply to all other businesses.
Simonsen ended the meeting in a timely fashion at 8:30 p.m., and announced that if needed, there will be a third public meeting, Wednesday, January 26 at 7 p.m., in Town Hall.