Pubdate: Thu, 29 Dec 2011
Source: Vail Daily (CO)
Copyright: 2011 Vail Daily
Authors: Dave Manzanares, Dieneka Manzanares
Note: Dave and Dieneka Manzanares, owners and operators of Sweet Leaf
Pioneer in Eagle, are third generation Eagle Valley residents.


After we were granted a business license by the town of Eagle and were
in business for a year, the town Board of Trustees' newly elected
members joined together with some existing trustees and deemed it best
to take back our business license to operate, and banned the most
heavily regulated industry in Colorado from the town limits.

However, we, Eagle's sole medical marijuana dispensary, gathered
enough signatures from the citizens of Eagle to reverse the trustees'
split decision and put the matter to vote.

We are asking the good citizens of Eagle to please vote against
banning medical marijuana dispensaries in the town.

In the last decade, voters have consistently reaffirmed their approval
of medical marijuana in the Eagle Valley.

With this long-standing support, and having experienced zero criminal
incidents the entire time we have been in business, we believe the
well-lit, safe, taxed and heavily regulated access to medical
marijuana through the dispensary model is the best way for most
citizens to have access to this therapeutic medicine.

While we fully support caregivers and the great services they provide,
the dispensary model is more beneficial than a caregiver-only model.

First and foremost, Colorado's dispensary system is regarded as the
most heavily regulated in the world. Colorado Attorney General Suthers
noted recently at the Eagle Valley Youth Coalition's Medical Marijuana
Panel discussion that there are more officers devoted to enforcement
of the industry's 300-plus pages of regulations through its own
regulatory system (the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division) than
officers in the entire Colorado Bureau of Investigations.

Additionally, all marijuana, down to the gram, produced in this system
is tracked via an extensive and remotely controlled video camera
system from the time it is a seedling to the time it is sold. No
medical marijuana can be sold through any back doors without the loss
being recognized and subsequent penalties being enforced.

Additionally, without the dispensary model, people treating themselves
for conditions from cancer to severe pain will find it very difficult
to find effective, and safe, non-smokable marijuana products, such as
lotions, tinctures and edibles, since state-approved caregivers or
underground drug dealers are not likely to have these products that
are distributed through and by Colorado's regulated medical marijuana
program. This, in turn, will leave patients few options other than
using harmful and dangerous prescription drugs.

And, as Attorney General John Suthers noted in his recent trip to
Eagle, "Prescription drug abuse is a horrendous problem. ... More
people died in Colorado last year by prescription drug abuse in
Colorado than by traffic accidents."

Therefore, we believe it is imperative that Eagle residents have
access to medical marijuana, since, as DEA Judge Francis Young stated,
"Marijuana is one of the safest therapeutically active substances
known to man. By any measure of rational analysis."

Clearly, if given a choice, medicinal marijuana is the safer
alternative to other therapeutic agents.

Lastly, with the heavy regulations on our industry there is no
criminal element involved in any aspect that does not get quickly
weeded out. We are required to only sell to bonafide medical marijuana
patients who have a doctor's recommendation, and our books are
required to be open and available for law enforcement and auditors at
any time they choose to inspect them.

We believe we have run our fully transparent business in a way that is
good for the community. Some of the ways we try to benefit the
community is by volunteering our time organizing food drives, and in
other ways such as choosing an out-of-the-way location for our
business and allowing only licensed cardholders into our business.

In the future we look forward to expanding our community involvement
even more by facilitating "Dine and Discuss" events at which parents
are shown how to keep their children away from the truly harmful
drugs, like methamphetamine and heroin, while teaching them that
medical marijuana is an adult issue that is used to treat medical
conditions and is not something that should be casually used.

Please help us provide a safer way to procure this medicine other than
by going to an unregulated and underground market by voting against
the ban on dispensaries in Eagle.

You can do this by mailing in your ballot no later than Saturday or by
dropping it off at the Town Hall by Tuesday, Jan. 3. If you did not
receive a ballot in the mail, you may go to the Town Hall and vote in
person on Tuesday only. Thank you.

Dave and Dieneka Manzanares, owners and operators of Sweet Leaf 
Pioneer in Eagle, are third generation Eagle Valley residents. 
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