Thursday, September 16, 2010

Planning Commission postpones MMJ decision

Posted By on Thu, Sep 16, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Kevin Butcher
  • Rockin': Commission Chair Kevin Butcher.

In a meeting that ran roughly eight hours — a timeframe becoming the norm when local bodies attempt a medical marijuana discussion — the Colorado Springs Planning Commission decided to wait two months to make a move on zoning laws for MMJ centers.

The Commission voted 9-0 for postponement until Nov. 18 after each Commissioner stated concerns with lumping three distinct entities — centers, grow facilities and infused-product manufactures — into the same zoning.

“I don’t feel comfortable trying to wordsmith this draft into something that I would feel comfortable referring on to City Council,” said Commissioner Edward Gonzalez. “I would like to see staff take into account all of our comments, and come up with something a little bit closer to where we’re all coming from.”

Earlier, Commissioner Carla Hartsell questioned why MMCs were being regulated differently than other businesses of what she considers like intent.

“Why would a sexually oriented business be less detrimental than a place selling an illegal substance?” Hartsell asked. “I feel we’re in a real moral dilemma where we have a federally illegal substance that our state allows to be sold, yet we have to come up with rules that support something that from the law is illegal.”

Senior planner Steve Tuck responded, "We took the assumption that this was a legitimate land use. We did not try to impose our values on that at all.”

“I know, but I’m going to be imposing mine," Hartsell replied. "I’m going to be real up-front about that right now.”

Throughout the meeting, Commissioners heard from the usual suspects, including a spokesman for the Colorado Springs Police Department who said the department's main concern wasn't crime, it was caregivers: "If you were going to regulate this through the land use ordinance, our recommendation is one caregiver per residential home."

Right before a lunch break, a lighter moment was had after state Rep. Mark Waller gave the background of House Bill 1284, and his reasonings for voting to allow local control.

“We seemed to be blamed for having to pass this ordinance," said chairman Kevin Butcher. "So everybody please throw rocks at the state representative instead of us."

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