Colorado Springs Bans Recreational Marijuana Retail Stores

Colorado Springs Bans Recreational Marijuana Retail Stores

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — Officials in Colorado’s second-largest city voted on Tuesday to ban recreational marijuana shops, becoming the largest community in the state to utilize an opt-out provision of a law that legalized the non-medical use of pot.

The council considered two options: Ban retail sales of marijuana for recreational use; or, allow sales, but delay them until after the November election when Colorado voters will be asked to tax the sales of pot for recreational use.

After two hours of public comments, the Colorado Springs City Council voted 5-4 to bar retail pot stores from opening within the city limits. The debate and vote came after Mayor Steve Bach publicly said he would veto the ordinance if the council approved allowing the recreational outlets.

“I say we should stand with our neighbors on this issue,” Bach testified before the vote, referring to nearby communities in the same county that have banned the pot shops.

Colorado Springs has a population of about 420,000 with a large military and evangelical Christian presence and is one of the most conservative and Republican areas in a state which in recent election cycles has turned leftward.

Last year, Colorado and Washington were the first U.S. states to legalize recreational marijuana, and the Colorado law allows cities or counties to outlaw marijuana stores in their communities. Nearly 20 states, including Colorado, allow marijuana use for medical purposes.

Colorado Springs does have medical marijuana dispensaries, which would be unaffected by the recreational pot vote.

But the federal government lists cannabis as a dangerous narcotic and considers it illegal for any purpose, a point underscored by Colorado Springs residents who spoke on Tuesday in favor of the ban.

Brian Burnett, vice chancellor of finance for the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, said allowing cannabis stores could affect the school’s ability to seek government research grants and provide college educations to military veterans.

“We are heavily federally funded,” he said.

But resident Rob Wiley urged the council to approve the shops so “black market street dealers no longer will have the exclusive franchise” on marijuana sales.

Elected bodies of 35 Colorado towns or cities have voted to opt out of allowing recreational marijuana stores, according to data from the Colorado Municipal League. The possession and use of small amounts of cannabis by adults is still legal in the communities that have banned non-medical pot shops.

In November, voters statewide will decide whether to impose a 25 percent excise and sales tax on recreational pot sales to fund its regulation and enforcement.

  • Thomas Mc

    The voters of Colorado Springs passed A64, but the retrograde City Council thinks they know better than the voters who elected them. The majority is PISSED! Don’t expect these people to survive re-election. Even non-smokers realize that this was our best hope against the drug cartels and criminal gangs who get most of their money from the blackmarket sale of pot. Mayor Bach is in for a big surprise the next time he asks the voters for another tax increase to fight the gangs.

  • Bob Rhodes

    Just boycott Colorado Springs & see how long they keep that holier than thou crap up!!

    • RockyMissouri

      Phonier than thou…………..

  • jeremy vasquez

    how sad :(

  • bhonze

    They are scumbags!!! Thanks for the warning when I plan my trip it won’t be to Colorado Springs; Lost tourist dollars!

  • Gregg Perry

    REALLY Colorado……i think the feds main office is out of this region…..Hey Im a methodist…and guess what….spings your wrong….listen to the wrong groups OUR GOVERMENT ON POT………..THATS who this town supports…..FEDSSSS..not the people..City counsel thinks for giving pain back to the sick and helpless…..WAKE UP AMD SMELL THE HERB…….SKM ON BROOOOOO……

  • tfs388

    “Colorado Springs does have medical marijuana dispensaries, which would be unaffected by the recreational pot vote.”

    Can existing dispensaries still apply for a “Recreational” license?

    • thedailychronic

      Yes, but not in Colorado Springs or other cities that have banned recreational cannabis sales. Basically they’re saying “medical marijuana is ok, recreational sales are not”