No recreational pot on county ballot

ALAMOSA—Depending on petition results, this year's ballots for Alamosa County and the City of Alamosa could look very different.

During the board and staff updates portion of Wednesday's meeting, the Alamosa County Commissioners decided to not have the issue of retail recreational marijuana on the ballot.

2014 was the last time it was on the ballot and County Commissioner Michael Yohn believes it is too soon to have it on again. "Three years seems minimal, really," Yohn said. "It was a controversial subject and that's why we put it on the ballot. It was voted on by the county residents and we acted appropriately."

County Administrator Gigi Dennis, who has been in contact with medical marijuana dispensary High Valley Healing owner Shanna Hobbs, brought the issue to the board of commissioners. Hobbs is currently petitioning to have the same issue, along with medical marijuana, on the city's ballot. A total of 212 signatures each are needed for both ballot questions.

The county doesn't use a petition system because it is not a home rule municipality like the city. Only the commissioners have final say on what appears on the ballot.

"We have the medical facilities because they convinced us how important that was," said County Commissioner Darius Allen, "but there's recreational available in Conejos and Costilla counties right next door."

Hobbs was not present at the meeting but the Valley Courier reached out for comment.

"The fact that people aren't calling them asking them where recreational stores are doesn't mean there isn't a demand," said Hobbs. "We get phone calls daily wondering if we're just medical.

"Yes, you can drive 40 miles to go buy recreational," Hobbs said, "but what they don't see that there are a lot of tourists coming through here that don't necessarily want a medical card."

The county's lack of a petition system seems unfair to Hobbs. "I think it's very limiting. It definitely should be up to the people to decide.

"The biggest county is the biggest resister and it makes no logical sense."