In response to two recent letters to the editor:
Jakki Taylor intimated in a letter that I had telegraphed my preference for the sale of recreational marijuana in Paonia.
I have no such preference and fervently wish that my mind were made up on the subject.
I vacillate almost daily and sometimes hourly on how I feel about the opening of a marijuana storefront on Grand Avenue:
1. Is the opposite of taxed and regulated, untaxed and unregulated?
2. Would increased tax revenue from marijuana sales help to repair our sidewalks, streets and other crumbling infrastructure?
3. Would we have to expend more money than we take in on security and police protection?
4. Would Paonia become a magnet for drug cartels and the criminal class?
5. Would our teen and preteenage children be led to a life of drug addiction by the mere presence of a recreational marijuana outlet in Paonia? Does the existing black market for recreational marijuana keep our children safe from exposure?
6. Would each and every of one of our community values be compromised?
7. Would an election on recreational marijuana divide the town absolutely? Are we a tribal society with limited tolerance for diversity?
8. The illegal, underground, unregulated, black market for recreational marijuana has worked very well for years in the North Fork Valley. Should we do anything to change that?
9. Should the people who have lived in Paonia for decades have more say in its future than those who have arrived more recently?
These are questions and ideas that have been advanced by the public. They will face us in the next 14 months as the Colorado Constitutional Amendment 64 with its 144 pages of rules is implemented (I have not finished reading them. Have you?)
As of now the Paonia Town Council is charged with crafting an ordinance limiting, regulating and taxing recreational marijuana. That ordinance will appear on a ballot in 2014. According to Jakki Taylor and Ron Rowell many of you have made up your mind on how you will vote and how you will encourage others to vote. I have not made up my mind, as there is still some research and thoughtful consideration to ensue.
And I would be remiss if I did not point out that my wife is a citizen in her own right. She thinks and speaks for herself and votes on a separate ballot from mine.
Larry L. Wissbeck