At the Orchard City Town Board meeting on Aug. 9, it was announced that the trustee Cannabis Revenue Committee has performed the task assigned to it by the full town board.
"We feel we have completed our work," announced Tom Huerkamp who along with Gynee Thomassen comprises the committee membership.
Orchard City constituents turned out for the town board's Aug. 9 meeting with comments offered to their government on management of the water utility, on marijuana businesses, and on the town board's fiscal responsibility.
Dave Stueck offered comments on the town water utility.
The Orchard City Town Board is scheduled to hear a further report from the Cannabis Revenue Committee -- trustees Tom Huerkamp and Gynee Thomassen -- on potential town revenue from licensing fees on marijuana business at its regular Aug. 9 meeting.
The draft report update is a one-page document dealing with "manufacturing, testing, and transport licenses."
Area residents on July 12 pushed back against Orchard City's moves toward allowing marijuana businesses to operate in town. However, not all were opposed. Some spoke of personal benefits from medical marijuana.
The Orchard City Town Board will move ahead with an expanded study of the types of marijuana businesses that could be allowed in town to provide government funding following town board action on July 12.
The town board's Cannabis Revenue Committee will also continue looking into six types of marijuana businesses, including retail shops, that could provide money to local government.
The Orchard City Town Board on July 12 will discuss, and possibly act on, a trustee committee report that lays out a road map for the eventuality of voter approval for marijuana businesses in town, including repeal of the town's current bans.
The first recommendation board's cannabis revenue committee is that "the town should start the process of repealing the ordinances of 2011 and 2013 prohibiting any type of licensed marijuana business."
The Delta County Sheriff's Office reminds everyone that commercial distribution of marijuana in Delta County is prohibited by county ordinance.
Individuals cultivating marijuana plants for medical or recreational purposes must have their marijuana plants in an enclosed and locked space.
Orchard City Town Board members are expressing second thoughts about allowing marijuana businesses in town as a way to generate more tax revenue for town government.
Speaking at the town board's June 14 meeting, trustee Craig Fuller expressed his opposition to the town board taking unilateral action and allowing marijuana business because it would be against the express will of the people, and he offered an alternative plan.
In spite of strong opposition from town residents at a February public meeting, the Orchard City Town Board is moving forward with the idea of allowing marijuana business in the town.
Mayor Ken Volgamore announced at a work session last week that he will appoint two trustees, Gynee Thomassen and Tom Huerkamp, to research the issue further.
Editor's note: With a majority of Orchard City trustees expressing interest in marijuana business as a way of raising town government revenue, and with a majority of town residents likely opposed to the idea, thanks to Orchard City resident Matt Soper for compiling a history of the marijuana issue in Orchard City and Delta County. (Sources and references are available.)
Orchard City Mayor Ken Volgamore and some of the town board members expressed disappointment that a room full of constituents left immediately following the previous week's community meeting on government revenue and marijuana.
"It was very interesting," Volgamore said during the town board's regular meeting on Feb. 8, "that after we went over the three items, especially the marijuana, that all but four [of the 70 people] got up and left.
Residents of Orchard City filled town hall to standing room to tell town board members their views on increasing government revenues and allowing marijuana business to operate there.
A trend of declining revenues the town is experiencing is contributing to depleted cash reserves in town budget funds including the water fund and roads fund, a trustee report has concluded.
During the Orchard City town meeting on marijuana and town revenues last week, Mayor Ken Volgamore noted that the town board has the ability to allow marijuana business in the town without putting the issue to a vote of the electorate. However, the mayor did not endorse doing so.
As a trial date for Stormy and Stacy Griffith approaches in Delta District Court, Stormy Griffith has been placed in federal custody for many of the same charges levied in Delta County.
In Delta County, the Griffiths are charged with cultivation of marijuana (more than 30 plants);
The idea of Orchard City turning to marijuana as a town government tax source first came up at the end of a budget work session last September. Mayor Ken Volgamore took a straw poll of trustees on the marijuana-as-revenue issue. No decisions were made at that time.
There are plenty of studies that discuss the benefits of marijuana use. New literature links cannabis to the improvement of many diseases, including the use of marijuana to alleviate the symptoms of nausea in chemotherapy patients.
A Cedaredge couple awaiting trial for cultivation and distribution of marijuana has again been arrested.
Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee reports the arrests are a result of an investigation conducted by the sheriff's office and two federal agencies -- the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
A Crawford resident's ongoing attempts to convince town council to allow a marijuana business to operate in town continues to cause turmoil. His request, repeated at the Sept. 22 council meeting, resulted in name-calling, heated arguments, and a trustee walking out in protest of comments made by her fellow trustees.
The board of education of Delta County Joint School District #50 is urging Hotchkiss voters to say no to the three marijuana questions on the municipal ballot.
"The board of education desires to make its position on the matter clear," states a resolution adopted unanimously March 17.
Charges have been filed against a Cedaredge couple accused of operating a large marijuana grow operation on Cactus Park Road east of Cedaredge.
Stormy Griffith, 36, and his wife Stacy, 32, have been charged with cultivation of marijuana (more than 30 plants); possession with intent to manufacture, dispense, sell or distribute marijuana or marijuana concentrate; processing or manufacturing marijuana and marijuana concentrate; distribution of marijuana concentrate; and possession of a Schedule I controlled substance.
At the Jan. 27 meeting of the Paonia town board, a discussion regarding the issue of allowing marijuana businesses within town limits focused largely on jobs and the economy. Trustee Ross King, who requested the discussion, said the creation of jobs, in light of the struggling economy, is a "paramount concern" the board should be discussing. He noted that other area towns are eyeing cannabis sales, production and testing as an "economic generator... We should be discussing it among ourselves and among our community."
The Lancaster County Sheriff's Office reports the arrest of a Cedaredge man, 68-year-old Steven McElmury, for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.
McElmury was arrested Thursday, Jan. 21, after a sheriff's K-9 indicated the odor of narcotics coming from McElmury's 2014 Dodge Ram pickup, which was found unoccupied in a business parking lot in Lincoln, Neb. The pickup had been observed driving eastbound on Interstate 80 a few minutes earlier.
Hotchkiss voters will have the opportunity to decide whether to allow cannabis and cannabis-related businesses after the town council vote to put the issue on the April 5 ballot. Trustee James Roberts did not cast a vote.
Citizens in Hotchkiss and Paonia could see cannabis back on the ballot in 2016.
In Hotchkiss, Mary Hockenbery is spearheading a petition to place a question on the ballot that would allow "limited retail recreational/medical marijuana" sales and manufacturing within town limits.
An extensive investigation that took DEA investigators from the west edge of Montrose County to a grow operation in Gateway Canyon, and finally to property north of Cedaredge, resulted in the seizure of approximately 1,300 pounds of marijuana last week. In addition, two arrests were made.
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