Fruita voters to decide, but city leaders weigh in
Fruita’s civic leaders and candidates for office offer differing personal opinions on the two marijuana measures voters are considering this Tuesday. Ultimately the question of whether recreational weed is welcome in Fruita is up to citizens, though.
“I think (the City Council) all thought it was important to go to a vote of the people. That’s what we did with medical marijuana. We should provide the same opportunity for them to vote on recreational marijuana,” said Fruita City Manager Clint Kinney.
“Now, what people should vote — there’s definitely not a lot of agreement on that,” Kinney said about the current council.
■ Councilor Bruce Bonar — “Marijuana is in Fruita. It’s already here. It’s always been here. It always will be here. Not selling it in Fruita doesn’t make it go away.”
“The retail sales in Fruita would generate a significant amount of tax revenue, both from the local sales tax that Fruita would collect, and also it would enable Fruita to get a share of the state money.”
“It is hypocrisy to say we encourage and favor small businesses, except small businesses we don’t like.”
“It is hypocrisy to say we cannot allow retail marijuana sales because we’re concerned about the safety of the children — and say nothing about the tobacco and alcohol that is sold all over town.”
Bonar also notes that voters statewide elected to constitutionally protect the use of marijuana with the passage of Amendment 64 last year.
■ Councilor Stacey Mascarenas — “Fruita voters for the last two elections voted down medical marijuana and they opposed Amendment 64. My position is, I’ve listened to my constituents. They’ve already said no, twice.”
“I’ve been very vocal about how marijuana has impacted my family. I’ve learned a lot over the last 10 years about the effects of marijuana, and how devastating it can be to a family. Not everybody who drinks becomes an alcoholic, and not everybody who smokes pot becomes an addict. But we’ve worked so hard in this community to make it what it is, and I think if we allow pot shops, everything that we’ve done will just be for naught.”
“It’s just the complete opposite direction than what this community is all about.”
■ Councilor Bob Fuller — “I’m against it, as I was against the dispensaries for medical marijuana opening up.”
“We already have a product on the market — alcohol — which causes problems for individuals and families, and essentially creates dependency. I think all we’d be doing is doubling the opportunity for adults to create dependent behavior.”
Citing recent trends with young people increasingly having issues with marijuana, Fuller said, “There is an ability on the part of the young community to be able to get access to it … with more access, it’s probable that the amount of underage activity will only increase.”
“I don’t think it’s appropriate.”
■ Councilor Joel Kincaid — “I’m supporting people voting on it, but I am against having it in Fruita.”
“I just think of all the other problems we could have, with the school system, underage use of it — I think it’s asking for more trouble.”
Regarding possible new revenues: “Overall, I think it’s going to have more of a negative impact than what the sales tax dollars would generate from it.”
■ Mayor Lori Buck — “I don’t think a marijuana shop in Fruita would make this a better town.”
Regarding possible new revenues: “I guess I would like to know exactly what kind of dollars we would be talking about. Of course, any extra tax money would be good. But from a standpoint of having to manage something like that, I know it’s going to cost us extra money. My guess is, any extra money we did get from it would go right back into prevention.”
■ Mayoral candidate Alan Story — “I’m against it, and the reason being, anyone can get marijuana today if they want to. If it’s known around Colorado that Fruita sells marijuana, you know, that gives us a bad image.”
“And as far as generating hundreds of thousands in revenue, that’s hogwash. There’s a million dollars being wasted on the streets.”
“We ought to have one distribution point for medical marijuana, and that ought to be the Sheriff’s Office. That way they could screen (buyers) real good.”