Dispensary question on De Beque ballot

The town of De Beque, which boomed with the energy economy, is asking voters this November if they want to allow marijuana dispensaries.

Town Councilman Gene Reed isn’t eager to see that happen, but the council reasoned that if voters want dispensaries, the town ought to make money from the deal.

The town is asking voters on the November ballot to allow marijuana dispensaries. On a second question, the council is asking voters’ permission to levy a $5 per transaction fee at any dispensaries. The question also asks voters to eliminate revenue caps and allow the town to keep all the money the new tax brings in, estimated at $50,000 for the first full fiscal year.

That’s not the direction he wants to see the small town go, Reed said on Friday.

“No way in the world do we want to do that,” Reed said, but the decision is one he and the council believe is up to the voters to decide.

“I’d personally rather see a restaurant,” he said. “I don’t want to see medical marijuana here. I don’t think it fits the decor of De Beque.”

If voters approve medical marijuana dispensaries, Reed foresees law enforcement problems that will outweigh the revenue medical marijuana might generate, he said.

“I just don’t foresee that much dough,” he said.

Mesa County voters in November will be asked whether to allow dispensaries in unincorporated lands in the county. Grand Junction has barred dispensaries, and Fruita has rejected the lone permit application it received. A dispensary in Palisade has been allowed to remain and expand.

De Beque residents will discuss the marijuana questions, another aimed at increasing revenue with a 3 percent building fee and other measures in a meeting at 10 a.m. today in the town community center.

Officials also will discuss the De Beque School District 49-JT request for a mill-levy increase and three state measures on the November ballot, Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101.

The local tax increases are especially important to De Beque, Reed said.

“We’re so destitute for revenue we’re going for anything we can,” he said.


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