Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mountain Town News


Aspen almost balmy at night in December

ASPEN, Colo.—Like much of the rest of the globe, Aspen was very, very warm during December. Nighttime temperatures were an average of more than 8 degrees warmer than normal for the last 10 years, according a report from the city's Canary Initiative. Not surprisingly, although it was a very wet month, there was very little snow. Most of the precip in the town, unlike the ski mountain, was rain by the time it hit the ground.

Crested Butte debates cannabis dispensaries

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo.—Like many other Colorado ski towns, Crested Butte grapples toward consensus about how many dispensaries of medical marijuana to allow. For some, reports the Crested Butte News, the door should be wide open.

"Give us a chance to live the American dream," said Richard Haley, of Western Holistics, in lobbying for an unlimited number of permits. "We are offering high-quality medicine at low prices. Let the free market work."

But will the unfettered free-market dampen tourism? Steve Ryan, of Iron Horse Property Management, reported a call from a family in Dallas that had cancelled the reservation of a house during spring break after learning of a dispensary near the town's sledding hill.

"I can only imagine the women who started the story spreading the word in Dallas," he said.

Peter Maxwell, a restaurant owner, also has been uncomfortable with the broad use of marijuana.

"Here it's being glamorized with advertising on the bus talking about candy. The fact is we get a lot of Bible Belt clients, and marijuana is taboo in that culture," he said.

So, is medical marijuana just a guise for legalization of a narcotic for nonmedical uses? A new magazine published in Colorado suggests as much. Entitled Kush, it calls itself "Colorado's premier cannabis lifestyle magazine." It's as lush as any ski town magazine designed to sell advertisements for granite countertops.

But in Crested Butte, two people at the town hearing disputed insinuations that there's no medical justification for all these marijuana shops.

"I'm a cancer patient," said one of them." I want to make my own choice of where I go to get my medicine. Let us as patients make that choice and let the free market work."

Crested Butte town officials are hewing to something of a middle ground, allowing five dispensaries but within a confined zone—including one near the sledding hill. It is, after all, a small town.

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