County pot shops up in smoke

Supporters of medical marijuana centers Tina Hall, left, and Cat Coughran watch results by phone Tuesday night at Le Rouge in downtown Grand Junction.

Most Mesa County voters don’t want marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated parts of the county, according to unofficial votes tallied Tuesday.

That thinking spread like weeds for voters in surrounding areas, with Montrose County, Garfield County and the towns of Paonia and Olathe also voting against having cannabis shops in their communities.

“My argument is if it’s for medical use, I don’t understand why it can’t be dispensed from a pharmacy,” Joshua Key of Montrose County said while watching votes come in Tuesday night.

Unofficial tallies Tuesday night showed Mesa County voters against dispensaries 26,785 votes to 25,364 votes.

Medical marijuana advocates who gathered Tuesday night at Le Rouge, 317 Main St., in Grand Junction slumped in their chairs after seeing early results indicating the majority of voters were opposed to dispensaries in unincorporated Mesa County.

“Now you will have people driving to neighborhoods to get medical marijuana,” said Dusty Higgins, owner of Nature’s Medicine, 1001 Patterson Road, No. 1.

While Higgins’ shop is within Grand Junction city limits, his marijuana growing operation is in the unincorporated county. He said he now will be looking to relocate the grow operation into the city.

The Grand Junction City Council banned medical marijuana shops in city limits after Jan. 1, although a petition drive is aiming to reverse that decision.

Paonia’s medical marijuana questions did not pass voter approval. Voters denied cannabis shops in city limits with 301 votes against dispensaries and 285 votes for them. They also rejected allowing marijuana-infused products to be produced in town with 325 votes to 262 votes.

However, if the centers were allowed, Paonia voters would want them to be taxed. That measure passed with a whopping 496 voters in favor and 91 voters against.

Voters in Montrose County denied cannabis shops with 7,552 voters against the shops and 5,629 voters for the shops with unofficial results as of 10 p.m. Tuesday. The numbers included 70 percent of registered active voters.

Olathe voters also denied medical marijuana shops, with 163 voters against the measure and 84 voting for shops.

Garfield County voters denied cannabis shops, but voted to allow growing centers in unincorporated parts of the county, unofficial results showed at 10:30 p.m.

Garfield County voters denied shops with 7,476 votes to 7,115 votes. Allowing marijuana growing centers in incorporated Garfield County passed 7,057 votes to 7,315 votes.

Voters did not want to see medical marijuana-infused products in unincorporated areas of Garfield County, voting against the measure 7,436 votes to 7,131 votes.


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