Dillon discusses walk-up and drive-thru marijuana sales
Dillon officials discussed the possibility of allowing walk-up and drive-thru marijuana sales in town during a regular council work session Tuesday night, Jan. 5, but community groups are already urging the council not to entertain the idea any further.
New rules from the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division will allow dispensaries to offer walk-up and drive-thru marijuana sales this year, but local governments will have a say in whether they want to allow the sales in their towns or implement more stringent regulations on the practice than outlined by the division.
Dillon Town Council opened discussions on the topic this week, and while officials haven’t made any decisions, council members agreed to pursue more in-depth conversations on the issue in the future.
According to the new rules, dispensaries would have to obtain town permission to modify the premises for the addition of a sales window before accepting walk-up or drive-thru orders. Otherwise, the process would work similar to indoor sales, requiring video surveillance of every transaction and customers to show proper identification.
Dillon already has shown a propensity to allow for the evolution of the marijuana industry in town. Last year, officials signed off on an ordinance allowing for marijuana hospitality establishments, which would allow visitors to consume cannabis products in lounges connected to dispensaries under the supervision of store employees.
Some council members feel that drive-thru and walk-up sales windows are a natural next step for ongoing talks.
“I don’t really see an issue,” council member Jen Barchers said. “This doesn’t change anything. This isn’t quite the lounge conversation. If anything, I think it makes it better because people can just drive, get their stuff, and go back home and be safe. I don’t have an issue moving forward talking about this.”
“I think especially for handicapped people — who have trouble moving around, getting out of their car and going inside — this would be awesome for them to not have to go through all of that,” council member Kyle Hendricks added.
Other council members were less optimistic the windows could be beneficial.
“I wouldn’t even want to talk about this anymore,” council member Renee Imamura said. “I’d rather put stronger language in our code so that it doesn’t happen. People need to go in and be educated, not just drive up. I don’t think it would be the best thing for our town.”
Community groups at the meeting also voiced that they’d rather not see the discussions continue.
“Youth in Summit County believe substances are relatively easy to obtain and that we have laws and norms in place that support youth substance use,” said Mandi Kennedy, a representative with Summit County Communities That Care, a youth substance use coalition housed under the county’s Youth and Family Services department. Kennedy pointed to data from the 2019 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, which showed that students in the county perceived a heightened availability of substances compared to other areas of the state. “… Youth cannabis use can be detrimental to a young person’s development both socially and physically. … These windows will likely have a negative impact on the well-being of our community.”
The Summit County Public Health Department also has come out against the concept, pointing to concerns about increases in impaired driving and marijuana consumption on public lands.
“I am requesting that you take into consideration possible increased public health concerns and safety risks when considering the approval for drive-up and walk-up windows for marijuana retailers,” said Lauren Gearhart, the county’s health promotion specialist.
The council ultimately decided to table the discussion until more information was available.
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