Parachute quietly approves pot shops
Without the protests, conversations and concerns typically reserved for votes on marijuana shops, Parachute trustees on Thursday night swiftly voted in favor of seeing recreational marijuana shops and other types of marijuana-related businesses in their town. The vote passed 4-2, with trustees Norm Feck and Daniel Manzanaras voting against it.
Thursday night’s decision specifically reversed the town’s 2013 ordinance that banned recreational marijuana businesses from opening there.
The town now is open for business without placing any caps on the number of recreational marijuana shops, cultivation centers, or testing and product manufacturing businesses related to marijuana.
“I think if you’re capping it, you’re just asking for trouble,” trustee Tom Rugaard said.
Trustee Juanita Williams likened capping the number of licenses to picking “winners and losers.”
Trustees did agree to allow 1 percent of sales tax revenues to go toward the local school system. Those dollars wouldn’t be handed over blindly. School officials would have to approach the board with requests for project funding.
Marijuana facilities roughly will be limited to Parachute’s commercial and industrial zones. They must be located at least 500 feet from schools and at least 150 feet from another marijuana business, unless two businesses are connected.
Like other municipalities that have allowed sales of recreational marijuana, business owners must first obtain licenses from the town. License fees are $5,000 for the first year and $2,000 each year to renew.
The town cannot seek any additional excise fees from marijuana businesses unless that issue is put to voters.
Several people attended Thursday’s meeting, some of them either current operators of marijuana-related operations in Silt or Rifle or prospective business owners. However, no one spoke during a public comment period and those asked for comment declined.
Parachute is located along on Interstate 70 between Silt and De Beque, which both allow the sale of recreational marijuana.