Dinosaur prepares for retail marijuana

DINOSAUR | Last November during the general election the voters of Dinosaur determined that the town should allow for marijuana dispensaries to operate within town limits. Fast forward a year to 2017 and the town is preparing to give their first business permits for retail marijuana sales.
The town has received four applications to operate a marijuana retail store. At a meeting last month the town board approved three retail stores and one grow operation, saying that the fourth application was ineligible for consideration. The applicants will now have to apply for state approval, a process which can take months.
According to Dinosaur Mayor Richard Blakley the town board did not initially set a limit on the number of marijuana retail businesses they would allow.
The application for a dispensary by Jeremy Johnson is the only one currently approved by the state. Johnson is not from the area and currently owns two other dispensaries in the state.
The other two dispensary applications have been approved by Dinosaur but are still awaiting state approval. One application is from Lando Blakley, and the other is from and Chris Gibbons in partnership with Kurt Fitch of Hayden. Blakley and Gibbons are Dinosaur locals.
The Colorado Secretary of State lists five marijuana-related business entities in good standing in Dinosaur. Two of those are registered to Johnson, one to Fitch, one to a Denver address and one to Hannah Mayes of Dinosaur.
The grow operation application is also waiting for state approval and will be registered to Si and Pat Prater of Rangely.
In this month’s election residents approved an additional marijuana tax referendum with 67 percent approval. However, only 79 out of 254 total votes were cast on the issue. In 2016 the town approved allowing the retail stores in a 104 to 51 vote. They also approved an occupation tax and municipal excise tax which will be levied on any retail marijuana business. The total tax on marijuana will sit at 5 percent.
Blakley said the town estimates that they will see “a couple hundred thousand dollars” per year in increased revenue from the sales.
At a meeting this month the town approved the hiring of a town marshal to help deal with local law enforcement issues. When asked if the lack of local emergency medical services would be a problem with the dispensaries councilwoman Janice Karren responded no, that “they can’t smoke it in public.”
Retail marijuana is currently illegal in Moffat County. However, Blakley stated that the county status wouldn’t impact Dinosaur’s ability to allow the stores. “The city is allowed to pass our own ordinances,” he said.
Dinosaur’s council is made up of trustees Debra Bird, Janice Karren, Chuck Winkler, David Heinrich, Darcie Rocque, Mayor Pro Tem Toby Cortez and Mayor Richard Blakley.

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