According to yesterday's Daily Sentinel, a moratorium set by the De Beque town council on recreational marijuana shops has officially lifted after four yea votes overturned it in April.
Yes, De Beque, common-Subway/gas-pit-stop 32 miles east on I-70 — has more relaxed restrictions on marijuana than the entire Grand Valley with it's college and youngsters and nightlife. The city of Grand Junction banned retail marijuana sales before Amendment 64 went into effect. In conjunction with the Mesa County Commissioners, the City of Fruita, and the town of Palisade.
Mesa County Commissioner Steve Aquafresca told the Sentinel last August that "opportunities for underage smoking will abound," if the stores opened. Grand Junction resident Majorie Haun referred to marijuana during the same meeting as a "social evil."
I understand the fears of Aquafresca and Haun, the threatening imposition of controlled substances on vulnerable populations is never worth the potential economic benefit that could be gained by a community. (and the state) Sidestepping the fact that marijuana's legal availability has very little to do with opportunities young people have to smoke it, I'd like to focus on a couple ways the Grand Valley can avoid subjecting it's children to the social evil — but still get that tasty economic benefit.
Some upstanding community business leaders, perhaps from the Chamber of Commerce or Colorado Mesa University could get together and organize a daily "weed shuttle" to De Beque so of-age Grand Valley residents can find easy and safe transport to a legal marijuana retailer.
1. JOBS: For shuttle drivers and organizers.
2. SAFETY: For marijuana consumers that could be driving back to the Grand Valley high on their recently-purchased product.
3. DISTANCE: Between the Grand Valley's children and marijuana stores.
4. CRIME PREVENTION: Less business for illegal marijuana distributors in the Grand Valley.
Or perhaps, the Grand Valley's almost-up-to-par public transit service, Grand Valley Transit, could expand a route from their Clifton substation to De Beque. Aside from the above benefits, this could be a reason for a considerable amount of Grand Valley residents to actually use the GVT.
We can do this, Grand Valley. We don't have to get over our inane fears of seeing marijuana stores on our street corners or recognize how marijuana abuse pales in comparison to other problems in the Grand Valley. We just need to figure out a cost effective way to get our potheads to the pot stores without our young children seeing it.