The Mesa County Democratic Party became the party of “Yes” today when it came to allowing recreational marijuana commerce in Mesa County.
At their assembly at Central High School auditorium, Democratic Party delegates voted by an overwhelming majority to amend the party’s platform to back ending the ban on recreational marijuana sales and cultivation into the County.
The current Board of Mesa County Commissioners have banned marijuana commerce, sending cash-carrying tourists and area residents seeking legal weed up-valley to DeBeque, Parachute, Silt and Glenwood Springs, to purchase legal pot.
Democrats in favor of the measure cited the economic benefits much of the rest of the state is enjoying from sales taxes on marijuana, the tourism and job creation Mesa County is missing out on, and the lives unnecessarily ruined by the criminalization of marijuana, which is now widely accepted to be a failed strategy. Opponents cited the fact that marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, but those in favor countered that the federal government is no longer actively enforcing marijuana laws in Colorado and other states that have legalized it.
Dems: Change McInnis Canyons back to “Colorado Canyons National Conservation Area”
In another notable amendment to their platform, Mesa County Dems also voted to support reverting “McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area” back its original name, “Colorado Canyons National Conservation Area.” The change would require an act of Congress. Speakers in favor (and all speakers were in favor) noted that the idea to change the area’s name did not originate from Colorado’s representatives or from any Colorado citizens. Also, in order to pass the name change, a handful of House representatives suspended a Congressional House Rule that prohibits sitting members of Congress from naming public works and lands after themselves. Supporters also cited the fact that national conservation areas are always named after the geological features that make them unique, and not after people. Others took exception to former Congressman Scott McInnis’ opposition to land conservation locally, and his 2010 plagiarism scandal as making him unfit to have the area named after him.
The vote to revert the name was unanimous, without a single dissenter among the approximately 150 delegates at the assembly.
Also by another unanimous vote, Mesa County Democrats backed adding a 5-10 cent deposit on bottles and cans locally to encourage recycling, help clean up litter around the county and provide a source of income for homeless people.
Districts 1 & 3 Commissioner Candidates Accept Nominations, Promise Economic Benefits
Palisade Mayor Pro Tem Dave Edwards formally accepted at nomination to run for District 3 County Commissioner. The District includes eastern Mesa County, Palisade, Orchard Mesa, DeBeque). The seat is currently held by incumbent Rose Pugliese, an attorney who is currently mired in a malpractice lawsuit and facing legal sanctions, and who openly opposes wilderness areas.
Fruita City Councilman Mel Mulder accepted the nomination to run for County Commissioner in District 1 (western Mesa County, Fruita, Mack, Loma and Glade Park) to replace incumbent Commissioner John Justman, who last year took a controversial $2,500 trip to Hawaii on the taxpayers’ dime, and who holds anti-federal government views while also accepting over $200,000 in federal agricultural subsidies for his own farm.
Both candidates vowed to start working on turning around Mesa County’s failing economy as soon as they are elected. Since the County Commission consists of only three members, they pointed out, electing both of them at once would allow them to start initiating quick changes for the better as the two would be a majority on the county commission.
Dems enjoyed the morning, and each other’s company, snacking on union-made doughnuts from Safeway and locally brewed coffee from Traders’ Coffee at 7th and Patterson Road as they organized to move forward stronger than ever before.