Palisade: Medical pot petitions valid

Opponents of commercial medical marijuana sales are a step closer to allowing voters to decide whether to ban such businesses in Palisade.

Palisade Town Clerk Carol Speakman this week found that petitions submitted seeking to prohibit the operation of medical marijuana centers are sufficient, rejecting a number of allegations raised in a protest against the petitions.

Speakman concluded that 150 signatures were valid. Petitioners needed a minimum of 85 signatures in order for the petitions to be considered sufficient.

Her decision means the Town Board must either adopt an ordinance banning medical marijuana centers in Palisade or refer the issue to voters. Colorado Alternative Health Care is the only medical marijuana center operating in Mesa County.

The primary contention from Joyce Eielson, a representative for Colorado Alternative Health Care owners Jesse and Desa Loughman, was that petitioners used lies and propaganda primarily contained in a flier they circulated to convince residents to sign the petitions.

“The flier does contain political opinions regarding medical marijuana. However, no evidence was presented at the hearing that indicates any signer was fraudulently induced to sign the petition because the nature of the petition and initiated ordinance was misrepresented,” Speakman wrote in her decision.

Jesse Loughman said he expected Speakman’s decision and that even if she ruled against petitioners, he believes they would have pursued a petition until a question was placed on the ballot.

“We move forward, and we let the people in Palisade decide, and we go from there,” he said.


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