Sunday, February 17, 2013

Taking the Bait – The Media Loves a Good Marijuana Story

Location: Nederland, CO 80466, USA
According to the Daily Camera, a guy from Denver moved to our town two weeks ago. He issued a press release in Westword Magazine stating that he has written changes to our town municipal code as a favor, " save Nederland from spending money the town doesn't have..." which is intended to provide for establishing businesses that can sell retail marijuana.

The state has a task force in place for creating a framework by which local municipalities will be able to approve licensing for retail marijuana. Their recommendations are due to Governor Hickenlooper by February 28. Even then, some recommended bills would have to pass the state legislature. The whole process is expected to be complete by July.

The state's actions are a bit more important for Nederland because we are a Statutory Town. So, we may not be able to write our own laws yet, that might contradict the state's laws, which don't exist yet. Somewhat circular, isn't it? But this Denver Business Journal article looks promising for maintaining Nederland's local control.

One of the nine vision statements reads, "In 2020, Nederland’s elected leaders are qualified, competent and representative of the entire community. They are committed to open and clear communication with town staff and all citizens. They actively encourage connections between residents, service providers, businesses and government. Critical information is easily accessible to all, and residents feel included and have a sense of responsibility and ownership in the governance process."

From this, the BOT has instituted the Nederland Planning Process (NPP) for community hot topics like Boating on the Barker Reservoir, the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, or even sidewalk improvements. This Board of Trustees (BOT) has developed a more open, transparent, and informative process than ever before. Views of citizens are heard and thoughtfully considered.

The BOT appreciates the diversity of feedback we receive because it is our role to take all the different perspectives into consideration when we make policy decisions on behalf of the town. This is how we Think Things Through as a community.

But, the media loves a good marijuana story, so some journalists took the press release bait from this shadow task force.

Here is how the story ran on the front page of the Daily Camera: Advocates push Nederland to Enable Pot Sales, but Mayor says it's 'Premature'.

Then CBS Denver Local News ran this clip
and CBS National News picked it up as well.
Huffington Post simply combined the two together.
(Note that all of the scenes of people smoking pot, were shot in Denver by CBS, and they edited it in)

The Board of Trustees will have a worksession on Feb 26th at 6:00pm to gather information that we have from the state so far, and look at how it potentially effects Zoning, Building Code, and Business Licensing. At that time, we will decide on a schedule, timeline, public input process, and a task force to implement our own municipal code changes. This is how we Think Things Through as a community.

[Here is a Video Valediction] It is President's Day weekend, and we do however, respect individual rights for civil disobedience. It reminds me of this scene from Northern Exposure. [What is a Video Valediction?]
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