Colorado Springs, the second most populous city in Colorado, has voted to ban the legal sale of marijuana at retail outlets. The City Council stunned cannabis supporters with its 5-4 decision on Tuesday.
"The city has opted out," Council president Keith King announced. Colorado Springs joins more than 50 cities that are balking at the law (Amendment 64) passed in November which legalized marijuana and charged the state with implementing a system of retail sales by 2014.
The other cities include Thornton, Greeley, Westminster and Centennial. Some cities (Aurora, Lakewood, Pueblo) are imposing a moratorium on weed stores (sort of a wait-and-see approach). Denver will lead the way when stores begin opening next year.
"Going against the will of the voters, no matter what the subject, is never a hit," says Jason Warf of the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council. "The city has woken a sleeping giant."
Mason Tvert, one of the architects of Amendment 64 and director of communications at the MPP, tells CelebStoner: "The actions taken by the majority of the council and mayor in Colorado Springs demonstrate the tendency of elected officials to evolve more slowly than their constituents on marijuana policy. Although localities have the ability to prohibit marijuana businesses in Colorado, it's inexcusable for these officials to take such action without any way of knowing whether their voters would support it. In fact, given the majority support for Amendment 64 in the city and county, they should err on the side of assuming voters want marijuana to be sold locally in regulated retail stores."
Another co-author of A-64, Brian Vincente calls Colorado Springs' decision an "anomaly... I think the four corners of the state will be fairly well covered, with the possible exception of the Eastern Plains."
There are at least 10 medical marijuana dispensaries in and around Colorado Springs.