I am writing in response to Ivan Moorhouse’s letter regarding Initiative 502 ("Small farm & I-502 friendly; vote Ayers, Jarman for council | Letters" posted Feb. 6, www.sanjuanjournal.com).
I am proud of my experience as a farmer and my accomplishments in support of local agriculture, which speak for themselves. I support the will of the voters in their approval of I-502, which legalizes small amounts of marijuana-related products for most adults and approves the associated tax and the use of the tax revenues for healthcare and substance-abuse prevention and education.
I spoke with Mr. Moorhouse and he asked me to give an unequivocal ‘yes’ to a hypothetical question regarding a state request for the San Juan County Council’s approval in issuing permits as a result of the passage of I-502. I would not give Mr. Moorhouse an unequivocal ‘yes.’
I explained that first of all, and without the benefit of the prosecuting attorney’s counsel, I thought that it could be in San Juan County’s best interests if the state issued permits without county approval so as avoid any potential conflict between San Juan County and federal law.
I also explained that if the council was faced with a request from the state for approval of a permit, I would not want to make that decision without first consulting with the other pertinent county elected officials and department heads. With this collaborative decision-making approach, conditions might be identified that would both make sense for our community and not place an undue burden on those applying for a permit to grow and/or process and/or sell marijuana.
I recognize that I-502 presents economic development opportunities for local farmers, processors, and other related businesses. I-502 also presents enforcement challenges.
If indeed the council will have input on the permitting related to I-502 it will be most effective and in the best interests of the entire community for the council to use a collaborative approach in their decision-making process while supporting the will of the voters.
Lovel PrattCandidate for San Juan County Council, District 1