Letter to the editor: Blocking cannabis industry would do more for housing than rental regulations | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Blocking cannabis industry would do more for housing than rental regulations

Maxwell Johnson

The intensity of cannabis has been all over world news as a key component to rising property prices and overcrowding within states like Colorado. Wouldn’t restricting access to cannabis and reducing cannabis-oriented tourism create a faster path to attainable housing than restricting vacation rentals?

Imagine if we lived where a pot shop wasn’t within walking distance of a single-family home, the college and the elementary school. Imagine if pot were inaccessible from within 100 feet of a bus stop, least of all across the street from the ski shuttle where our Colorado families park most. Imagine if our ski towns did not give special privileges to pot shops with repugnant year-round light pollution. The pot shops occupy prime real estate that is perfectly suited for apartments near bus stops and schools. Why aren’t we displacing these businesses with local housing?

Is the county siding with cannabis-rich investors who don’t need to short-term rent? Because the county’s new short-term rental restrictions will hurt family-oriented second-home owners, local vacation rental owners, property managers, hospitality industry workers and part-time residents the most. These people want to short-term rent because they want to provide for their families, subsidize this high cost of living or earn an honest wage within the long-standing local hospitality industry.

Cannabis-rich investors already had a leg up since they make plenty of money selling drugs and can buy homes with cash. True, cannabis-rich investors may not need to short-term rent, as far as any tax return will ever show, anyway. Now, the county just gave these cannabis investors even less competition.

Mental health is as much a crisis as housing, and blocking cannabis-rich investors and restricting dispensaries attacks both issues more directly and more quickly than a single short-term rental restriction will ever accomplish.

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