Town board to finalize ballot measure on marijuana sales

Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018 7:15 PM

If marijuana sales are approved by Bayfield voters in November, retail operations would pay an annual fee of $3,000 and charge a transaction fee on each sale.

That fee hasn't been set yet but would be capped at $10 per transaction.

Owners of retail marijuana operations also would have to provide a bond to the town. There would be a maximum of three retail stores and one co-located medical marijuana center.

The Town Board will vote to approve the language for the ballot measure Sept. 4.

"There is no proposed limit on marijuana product manufacturing facilities, marijuana testing facilities, medical marijuana infused products manufacturing businesses, marijuana research and development facilities," Town Manager Chris La May wrote in an email to the Times.

During town board meetings this spring, some town residents and numerous county residents remain adamantly opposed to allowing legalized sales in town limits. Bayfield has banned the sale of retail and medical marijuana since Colorado voters approved retail sales in 2014.

If passed by voters, a marijuana overlay district would allow marijuana sales more than 500 feet away from schools and parks. In Bayfield, that limits sales to the industrial area on the southeast side of town, parts of the Bayfield Center business park, and Mill Street in downtown Bayfield.

Town residents will be able to vote on whether Bayfield will allow marijuana to be sold legally in town limits on Nov. 6. Fort Lewis College students who conducted a study for the town of Bayfield this spring determined sales of retail marijuana could bring in between $100,000 and $200,000 in extra tax revenue, with about $24,000 to $100,000 in increased costs for the town.

Pat Senecal of Celebrating Healthy Communities asked that each dispensary be required to carry educational materials about youth marijuana use.

In a periodical survey of county teens, about one-third have used marijuana, and that number has remained steady during the past several surveys, Senecal said.

Regulations and education about teen marijuana use is needed "in order to keep our youth as safe as possible," Senecal said.

Suzanne Arms asked if some of the revenues could be dedicated to the Pine River Library.

Town board trustees also heard from Shelley Walchak about the mill levy increase that the library district has on the ballot, also in November.