Group seeking to ban dispensaries in Palisade

Having secured medical marijuana center bans in unincorporated Mesa County and the city of Grand Junction, a group of citizens is now seeking to oust businesses that dispense the drug in Palisade, the only place in the county where it is still legally commercially sold.

Diane Cox, a member of Safe and Healthy Mesa County, said Wednesday she has asked an attorney to craft a petition asking voters whether to ban medical marijuana centers within Palisade town limits.

Repeating a familiar refrain from medical marijuana opponents, Cox said Amendment 20, which set up a medical marijuana registry program, was never intended to endorse a commercial industry.

“We feel as though people in Palisade have a right to have a voice if that’s the direction they want their community to take on that,” Cox said.

To secure a special election and place a question on the ballot, ban supporters have to collect signatures from 5 percent of the 1,681 registered voters in Palisade, according to Town Clerk Carol Speakman and county Elections Director Catherine Lenhart. Five percent would equal 85 voters.

If Speakman certified the petition, the Town Board then would either prohibit dispensaries or put the question to voters.

Jesse Loughman, owner of Palisade-based Colorado Alternative Health Care, the only marijuana center operating in the county, said the closures of centers in Grand Junction and unincorporated areas of the county have him scrambling to take care of displaced patients. He said it also left older clients scared and concerned about how and where they will receive medicine.

“Now she’s got her guns loaded and she’s coming in our direction,” Loughman said of Cox. “I mean, there’s nothing we can do to stop it. Hopefully people will realize there are people that need this.”


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