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Colorado Springs City Council likely to ban or wait on recreational marijuana 

Colorado Springs City Council will not even consider an option to allow for recreational-marijuana stores at its July 23 meeting, the body decided on Monday during its informal work session. City staff were directed only to create two ordinances for purposes of voting: one that would see the city refuse the facilities OK'd by Amendment 64, and another that would create a six- to 12-month moratorium on RMJ stores.

"I have said all along, part of my support is contingent upon whether or not it is taxed," said Council President Keith King. "So I definitely will support voting for a moratorium through the election process, and seeing where the outcome of that [November] election is.

"And if it doesn't pass — I understand it's likely to pass very easily — but if it doesn't pass, then I will not be supporting marijuana in the city."

And though Councilors Helen Collins, Don Knight and Val Snider all declined to forecast their vote ahead of July 23, others were more direct, especially when it came to the argument, often cited at last week's town hall, that the voters had already spoken in support.

"As far as honoring the vote of the people, as I look at the ballot language, it specifically says 'permitting local governments to regulate or prohibit such facilities,'" said Councilor Joel Miller, who represents the far north side of the city. Councilman Andres Pico said he "found quite a lot of the arguments in favor of it to be fairly strong, particularly the parallels with Prohibition," but that his northeastern district voted against the amendment, so he felt comfortable doing the same.

In explaining why he would vote to opt out, Council President Pro Tem Merv Bennett cited anti-marijuana testimony from the military, local business leaders and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs representatives, before saying: "I do not want us to be on the cutting edge, because I think it puts us on the bleeding edge."

Support for recreational marijuana came from Councilors Jill Gaebler and Jan Martin. "You talk about sending a message to our business community," said Gaebler. "Well, I want to send a message to the people of our community that we heard them and are honoring their vote." Martin echoed that, saying she'd support a moratorium if needed but that she "was not afraid of medical marijuana" and is "not afraid of recreational marijuana."

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