(January 19) night. Boy, did they get an earful! Town Administrator Victoria Simonsen and Economic Development and Community Relations Manager Jacque Watson were on hand to facilitate the meeting, each of the owners of the four dispensaries (Sean Welch – Lucky Farms, Matt Rheingold – Headquarters, Read Spear – The Bud Depot, and Dan Ballard – Lyons Finest Confidential Care) were in attendance, as were Sgt. Kevin Parker – Lyons Substation Supervisor and Tommy Sloan – Commander of the Boulder County Drug Task Force, three elected officials (Mayor Julie Van Domelen, Trustee Sandy Banta, and Trustee LaVern Johnson). Oh yeah, and about 50 passionate, emotional, and vocal citizens! It was literally standing room only.
Simonsen, who a week earlier had received input from the dispensary owners and their landlords about their views on issues like appropriate zones, signage, number and density of centers, distance from schools, etc., was now looking for opinions on the same issues from the local citizenry. One other option that was discussed, often and by everyone who spoke, was the outright ban of such businesses in Lyons. The speakers included mothers and fathers, a pastor, a real estate agent, business owners, long-time residents, recent arrivals to the community, homemakers, professionals, and even a repented admitted home-grower who got “ripped-off” by a couple of high school kids; in short, a cross section of the community.
They were worried about an increase in the use of marijuana by local youth, the decreased age of the users, the affects on still not fully developed brains, the message being sent of legitimizing the use, increasing the acceptability and accessibility, lowering of property values, and changing the character and outside perception of the town. To a man and woman, those that spoke were in favor of an outright ban of dispensaries, grow operations, and infused product manufacturing in the town of Lyons. A few added the caveat that if it were not banned, they would want to see heavy local regulations, including but not limited to enforcement of the 1000 foot regulation.
All along, for the past 18 months, the Board of Trustees (BOT) and the Planning and Community Development Commission have stated their desire to “hear from the community” about this issue. They have gotten their wish! Now it remains to be seen whether “the other side” comes forward with their views at the third public meeting (Wednesday night, January 26 – will be covered in next week’s edition). The staff will summarize their findings and make a presentation at the February 7 BOT meeting. After which, unless a petition to put the issue to the voters in a special referendum comes forward, the Trustees will make their decision: regulate or ban. Stay tuned.