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Amendment 64 voted into law last year decriminalized recreational marijuana in Colorado for adults 21 and over. Now Colorado Springs, like local governments around the state, has about three months to decide whether to regulate retail marijuana sales or to ban such shops within city limits. As KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, City Council yesterday heard both sides at a Town Hall meeting.
One of the first to speak was Sean Paige. He was on City Council when it approved regulations for medical marijuana sales, and Paige urged the current council to follow a similar path by writing rational rules, and resisting opponents’ horror stories about what might happen.
“All the scary things we were told – and you’re going to be told a lot of scary things today – did not come to pass. They just did not come to pass. In fact, the medical marijuana industry saw this city through one of its toughest fiscal times recently, in recent history.”
While Paige and other advocates portray the legal marijuana industry as an economic driver, some opponents say the defense sector is far more important. They say military commanders and contractors worry about the effect retail pot stores would have on their personnel. Retired General Ed Anderson of the Colorado National Defense Support Council says it could provide incentive for the installations and companies to relocate.
“That translates into about $6.5 billion per year in terms of economic impact in Colorado Springs. Why would we want to put any of that at risk?”
The town hall meeting was just a listening session for council members. They plan to discuss the issue at a work session, then take it up on it July 23rd.