Thursday, September 11, 2014

City Council kills recreational-marijuana vote

Posted By on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 11:59 AM

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It's frustrating to watch some on Colorado Springs City Council attempt to govern. Councilor Val Snider berates Council President Keith King; Keith King dumps a load of paperwork the public has never seen on Council; and the rest of Council, at any given time, mostly acts confused about whatever its supposed to do next. (The strained patience, and sometimes not-so-patience, of city staff is a wonder to behold.)

But it's past frustrating, and straight on to terrifying, that from that tangled mess must emerge legally binding decisions that affect the lives of people far less confused than City Council. And it is thus with recreational marijuana, an issue which a majority of Council voted Tuesday, 6 to 3, to deny voters the chance to decide for themselves. Councilwomen Jan Martin, Jill Gaebler and Helen Collins were your only supporters.

Beforehand, Councilor Don Knight was confused about which version of the ordinance Gaebler was pushing, while King seemed baffled at what city staff was telling him about needing more time for marijuana revenue projections. (Watch for yourself — click "12.I" on the index.)

But then, to his credit, King was the only one to actually state in that meeting why he opposed sending the question to the voters, which was because the ordinance was not made dependent on the passage of an adjoining tax question:

"OK, well, let me say what concerns me: I did a lot of research on this issue last night, and again in working very hard with, called [Colorado Municipal League] and did a lot of issues to try and see whether or not these questions can be coupled or not," he said. "What part of my discussion was going to be — I think they can be coupled and I think we have evidence that we found through CML, and talking to Kevin Balmer, that these issues could be coupled and they could be coupled together. ... And, so, I plainly said that I would support this if it was taxed like alcohol, if it was kept a safe distance; I have no guarantee that it’s going to go forward, so I will not be supporting this."

So, there you go: Merv Bennett, Joel Miller, Andy Pico, Knight and Snider said nothing, and then voted you down. Nice try, you 54.7 percent of Colorado Springs voters who supported Amendment 64.

Meanwhile, as we reported this week in CannaBiz, Palmer Lake is far less petrified by its electorate and will see two related questions in November.

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