by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG — The Walsenburg City Council Tuesday night approved Ordinance 1020 that establishs a local licensing authority and licensing procedures, financial and location guidelines for medical marijuana facilities within the city limits, but members seemed ‘dazed and confused’ when it came to an associated ordinance concerning recreational pot operations.
The medical marijuana ordinance passed on second reading with council members Erin Jerant and Mayor Pro Tem Craig Lessar voting against the measure. Mayor Larry Patrick, and council members Jim Moore, Nick Vigil, Cathy Pineda and Rick Jennings voted for approval. Council members James Baca and Silvana Lind were absent.
Ordinance 1021, which would prohibit the operation of recreational marijuana facilities in the city, including recreational marijuana retail stores was also before the city council for second reading. Even though it had only been two weeks since the ordinance was passed on first reading, council members Vigil, Pineda, Moore and Jennings voted against it. However, moments after the prohibition measure failed on a 4-3 vote, councilman Jennings said he wanted to change his vote.
City Attorney Dan Hyatt explained if the members who had voted no, really meant to vote yes, there was a procedure to immediately correct the mistake. Acting on the attorney’s advice, Jennings made a motion to insert the word ‘recreational’ into the title of Ordinance 1021. A vote was taken and passed with Moore voting no. Then Jennings made a motion to reconsider the recreational marijuana ordinance and it too passed with Moore voting no.
In other business, the city council voted 7-0 to write a letter of support to Greg Wilson concerning plans to establish a local recycling operation which would include Huerfano County and local school districts’ participation.
Wilson’s proposal is to establish a recycling center at the current county run transfer station location. The idea, while in early stages, could provide a work / training program for high school drop outs that would incorporate educational grants and a training-to-employment program with Kaspia Group.
Wilson is in the process of meeting with local government leaders, school district superintendents and working on grant requests that could aid in not only recycling nearly 80 percent of material that could be brought to the site, but provide educational opportunities and eventual full time employment for youth age 16 to 24 who have left school prior to graduation.
He told the council he is working with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment within its Hub and Spoke grant program.
In the citizen forum portion of the meeting both Wilson and Thomas Velasquez spoke about the recycling issue with Velasquez also bringing to the attention of city council and staff, the ongoing problem of unkempt lots and snow removal hazards in the community.
Velasquez reminded city leaders that snow covered sidewalks in Walsenburg, especially those not cleaned in front of vacant buildings, pose a great risk and inconvenience for residents, especially those with special needs.
The city council also unanimously passed a 3.2 beer license renewal for Rambler 66.