The doors of the county offices in downtown Fort Collins opened to the public on Monday evening, as community residents of all ages, including business owners, parents, as well as Larimer County Commissioners and members of area law enforcement, came together to discuss the idea of repealing the ban on the sale of marijuana-infused recreational edibles within Larimer County. At this point in time, the commissioners did not vote one way or the other regarding the ban.
Even though Larimer County legalized the sales of recreational marijuana in 2014, the commission chose to still prohibit the sales of weed-infused edibles in the county. This decision was made mostly because of the concern for minors having increased access to edibles, however, it really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. While the county chooses to ban retail edible marijuana products, they are still available in the city limits of Fort Collins, meaning that even though Fort Collins allows its twelve dispensaries to sell recreational edibles with no problems at all, some of the other dispensaries that are as close as just a few miles away, cannot sell these same types of products. It is for this reason that Erica and Brian Freeman, owners of Choice Organics, made an appearance at Monday’s meeting to advocate repealing the ban. Choice Organics already sells medical edibles to their patients, however, due to their location, they are not able to sell edibles to customers on the rec side. The Freeman’s are primarily concerned with wanting to provide for their customers’ needs, explaining that it can be frustrating to have to turn people away, only to send them just up the road in order to find exactly what they are looking for. It’s not just about the sales though. Erica also noted that when people can’t get the edibles they want, they might end up taking measures into their own hands and try to make it themselves at home. Not only could this lead to a stronger product than intended for, but with no packaging identifying that something is pot-infused, an unmarked edible could easily be accidentally ingested by a child… or by Grandma Betty when she comes to visit.
Among those speaking out against the repeal during Monday’s meeting was Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith, citing that the state has already legalized an illegal substance by federal law. Having the safety and best interests of the community in mind, Sheriff Smith further explained that data points to the fact that Colorado is one of the highest states in youth usage of marijuana – a trend that he does not want to see continue in the future, but could see happening largely due to the accessibility and appeal of edibles. His worry is also that because certain edibles do look so similar to other mainstream candies and snacks, they would be much easier for kids to take into schools without being detected.
Although children having access to edibles was a hot topic at Monday’s meeting, several parents even sided with wanting to lift the ban. Kelly White, a frequent customer at Choice Organics and a parent too, commented strongly in favor of the addition of recreational edibles. While White definitely understands the concern about kids getting into their parent’s edibles, she also noted how many improvements have been made to the child-proof packaging. Along with these improvements, a stamp is required to be placed onto edibles, further designating their function and ingredients. A father to five also chimed in during the meeting, saying that as long as people are responsible, keeping edibles away from kids shouldn’t really be an issue.
After hearing what all parties had to say on Monday, the commissioners did recognize that it does seem strange to allow edibles in Fort Collins but not a few miles down the road. The commissioners voiced that they will consider repealing the ban, but need to be sure that doing so won’t “have a negative effect on the community.” Furthermore, before any decision can be made, the commissioners said they will need to collect information from both the Larimer County school districts and the health department.