Thursday, November 22, 2018
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Crazy thoughts…

Honestly, I am glad that the week started without anyone feeling the need to comment, “We need the moisture.” Instead, this spring week in May has a summer feel to it. If “we need the moisture,” can we make a deal with the powers that be to bring it in December instead of May? That would help keep everyone sane as well as fill the water in the area’s rivers and lakes.

I see HCCA is protesting with the Forest Service that the state and feds don’t have any money set aside for emergencies from the operators of the Mt. Emmons water treatment plant. You can read the details in next week’s issue of the Crested Butte News. If something goes wrong up there, it could go really wrong and there isn’t any money in the wings to fix it. That sounds crazy. The plant is decades old. Stuff can go wrong. At a minimum, there should be an insurance account to make sure that the plant doesn’t just shut down with no chance of being fixed. That doesn’t sound crazy. That seems reasonable.

The Gunnison County commissioners are taking the first steps to officially prohibit the sale of recreational marijuana in unincoporated parts of the county. Such sales will soon be allowed in the state under Colorado Amendment 64 and regulations recently approved by the legislature.
But the commissioners voiced fear with allowing the amendment to be implemented in Gunnison County. This despite the fact the county voters overwhelmingly supported the amendment at the polls (5,811 to 2,727) last November. Twice as many people voted to approve the legalization of recreational pot as voted against it in this county. The commissioners should use that bit of information in making a decision on the issue instead of publicly citing what the councils of Mt. Crested Butte and the city of Gunnison decide.
Board chair Paula Swenson kindly emailed me to also cite 1) the county’s fear of a potential federal reprisal with funds received by the county from the feds since growing, selling and using marijuana is still against federal law, 2) the fact the county discourages retail sales outside of municipalities and 3) the fear of extreme fire hazard with grow operations and serious water issues with sprinklers.

Real quick: there are plenty of retail and plant nursery-type operations outside the towns in Gunnison County, the feds have kept very quiet on the state’s move to legalize marijuana and it’s not like the county is opening PP&J’s (Paula, Phil and Jonathan’s) smoke shack…the county would just choose to not “opt out” of the state regulations governing recreational marijuana. I’m not aware of any federal threat to withhold funds to counties or states with marijuana regulations on the books. As for the fire hazard and sprinkler issues, that could easily be addressed in any county permit.
Two of the commissioners were voted into office at the same election as Amendment 64 so you’d think Commissioners Houck and Swenson would remember the will of the people and work to implement the new state rules rather than trying to prohibit them in Gunnison County.
While marijuana certainly needs to be regulated at the very least like alcohol, the federal fear-mongering over this weed is ridiculous and our commissioners should reflect a sane approach to marijuana, not a 1950s “killer weed” mentality. Respectfully, that direction is crazy…

Speaking of crazy. A crop once grown by the likes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson has been outlawed in this country for more than 60 years—because it’s related to marijuana. But a new hemp crop with a Crested Butte connection was planted this week. Crested Butte’s Ryan Loflin is using 60 acres of his parent’s farm in eastern Colorado to grow a hemp crop this summer. That too was made legal in the state under Colorado Amendment 64. Hemp has none of the psychoactive properties of its cousin, marijuana. But it has a lot of practical qualities valued all over the world. So the prohibition of hemp has been just a crazy law that hopefully is now being rectified.

Let’s not even get into the national issues like the Internal Revenue Service shaking down select organizations for audits or President Obama’s Justice Department crossing a line and secretly seizing telephone records of the Associated Press, seriously jeopardizing the tenets of a free press in the process. That’s real world stuff and that’s real crazy…

On the sane side, the Crested Butte Town Council didn’t hold a meeting this past Monday for the first time in almost two months. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren is asking questions about why no bank was prosecuted after they helped cause the world’s worst financial crisis. And the valley forecast calls for sunny skies and warm temperatures the rest of the week. There’s nothing crazy about those things…thank God.

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