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Marijuana is on the Buena Vista agenda once again Tuesday. Aug. 25. This time, the town’s trustees are slated to consider an ordinance and three resolutions regarding a Nov. 3 public vote on recreational cannabis. The town has until Sept. 4 to submit ballot language to Chaffee County for the question to be put on the November ballot.

On August 11, the board made a turnaround on its approach, to allow the sale of recreational marijuana in town. It had previously made plans to bring the 2016 draft ordinance forward and revise it, then ask voters for an additional sales tax on recreational cannabis in the Nov. 3 election.

Trustees were hit with public demands for townspeople, demanding to take the question to a vote rather than allow the board to pass the updated ordinance. Trustees voted 4-2 August 11 to reverse course and place the question on the ballot along with the request for a special tax on recreational cannabis. That allowed a window to hone the ballot language prior to the Sept. 4 deadline to submit ballot questions to the Chaffee County Clerk and Recorder.

Voters turned down recreational marijuana in 2016, but the board had revisited the situation this year, with additional tax revenue in mind.  Supporters pointed out that there is also the matter of surrounding towns capturing tourist dollars when visitors travel to those locales to legally purchase retail marijuana.

Buena Vista currently allows medical marijuana sales and has one store, Ascend Cannabis, on Main Street. If approved, the current plan would allow for a maximum of two recreational stores in town. Ascend has indicated it would like to expand its offerings to include recreational cannabis, meaning just one new dispensary would be allowed in town.

The marijuana-related items on the agenda are:

  • The board will consider approving a draft ordinance repealing and reenacting Article IV of Chapter 6 of the Buena Vista Municipal Code concerning medical and retail marijuana businesses and amending the town’s zoning regulations to include medical and retail marijuana as permitted uses in certain zone districts.
  • Resolution: The board will consider approving ballot language allowing retail marijuana stores.
  • Resolution: The trustees will consider approving ballot language regarding a special sales tax on the sale of retail marijuana.
  • Resolution: The board will consider coordinating with Chaffee County in the Nov. 3 election, and approving the contract with Chaffee County Clerk & Recorder Lori Mitchell to conduct the election.

Other agenda items include:

  • Read McColloch, Executive Director of Chaffee Housing Trust, will provide an update to the board, and request a letter of support for the Community Support Grant to assist with affordable housing in Buena Vista.
  • The trustees will discuss and consider utilizing Coronavirus Relief Funds for local non-profits which have either been impacted by COVID-19 or will play a role in helping the community through the fall and winter seasons during the pandemic known as COVID-19.
  • The Board will hold a public hearing to consider the annexation approval of the Sangre de Cristo Electric Association’s Parcels A and B and the Substation Annexation Parcel A.

The board convenes by Zoom call at 7 p.m.  Join at Password: 977111