Friday, November 15, 2013

Group begins fight for Colorado Springs marijuana

Posted By on Fri, Nov 15, 2013 at 5:14 PM

click to enlarge The scene at the Warehouse Restaurant and Gallery last night. - BRYCE CRAWFORD
  • Bryce Crawford
  • The scene at the Warehouse Restaurant and Gallery last night.

Last night, the group Every Vote Counts launched its first salvo in the effort to reverse Colorado Springs City Council's decision to opt out of allowing recreational-marijuana stores. And as popular movements will, it drew its fair share of politicians: Rep. Pete Lee, City Councilor Jill Gaebler and former state representative (and current state Senate candidate) Michael Merrifield all made the rounds.

Currently in the planning and fundraising stage — polls cost money, you know — EVC hopes to get enough Council votes to have the question of allowance placed on an upcoming ballot. Colorado Springs voters passed Amendment 64 by some 5,000 votes in November 2012.

Led by campaign chief Mark Slaugh, last night's crowdsourcing shindig at the Warehouse Restaurant and Gallery was built around identifying potential problems with the stores and coming up with strategies to counter them, as described by EVC secretary Lindsay Deen.

"It is kind of a different way of doing a campaign, and doing politics and running a citizens' initiative, which is what we’re actually working on writing right now," Deen says.

For her part, Gaebler says she doesn't see her fellow Councilors changing their views on the stores any time soon, but thinks a ballot referral may have hope.

"I think there is potential to bring it back to Council to put it on the ballot, and not have to go through the hassle of getting signatures," she tells the Indy. "I would love to think that my Councilmembers were democratic enough to give people the chance to at least vote."

Ultimately, the goal is to change a lot more than just marijuana policy, says Deen.

"I think that a lot of people are really pissed off about this," she says. "But the idea of the power structure here in Colorado Springs is that, ‘We can’t really do anything about it. We’re just little people. There’s nothing we can do, we’re disempowered.’ And I think that’s the message that we have to reverse."

If you're interested in getting involved, the group meets at 7 p.m. every Thursday on the second floor at City Hall.

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