With the passage last year of Amendment 64, Cities and counties around Colorado are deciding whether to allow recreational marijuana shops and grow operations within their boundaries. Denver City Council said yes. El Paso County said no. The city of Pueblo passed a moratorium, deciding, in effect, to decide later. Colorado Springs City Council discussed the question yesterday, and as KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, no consensus emerged.
Council appears to be evenly split. Three members say they want regulations to allow retail operations, three favor a ban, and three didn’t declare how they plan to vote. Councilman Merv Bennett says the opposition of local military leaders, the police chief and the mayor, helped convince him a ban is the way to go. But Councilwoman Jill Gaebler says this is an opportunity for thoughtful regulation.
“I do understand there are concerns from different business interests in our city, but a the end of the day I believe it is so important to honor the voice and the vote of the people of Colorado Springs who voted to approve retail sales of marijuana.”
Council President Keith King says he’s leaning toward allowing pot sales, with reservations. He’s suggesting a moratorium to put the decision off for up to a year, or at least until Colorado voters decide in November on a marijuana sales tax. The council took no action at this informal session. The issue comes up again July 23. At that meeting, Council is also scheduled to consider a ban on cigarette smoking in city parks. Parks Director Karen Palus told council discarded butts are a litter problem and a fire hazard.