Thursday, October 15, 2015

City Council votes against new marijuana businesses

Posted By on Thu, Oct 15, 2015 at 8:40 AM

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On Tuesday, City Council voted on two measures that will have far-reaching effects on marijuana business in Colorado Springs.

First, Council approved the second reading of a six-month moratorium ordinance, which stops any new cannabis clubs from opening before March 22, 2016. All cannabis clubs already open will be grandfathered in, exempt from whatever requirements may be passed during the moratorium. According to Denver attorney Matthew W. Buck, Esq., this will include One Love Club, which was closed for fire code violations earlier this month (see Cannabiz, Oct. 7). The second reading was passed 7 to 2, with Bill Murray, at-large, and Helen Collins, District 4, voting against.

At any time between now and March 22, Council can extend the ordinance with two readings and votes at public meetings. Council can also end the moratorium early with the same procedure. See the full text of the ordinance below.
Second, Council approved its first reading of a six-month moratorium ordinance that stops land use permits for any new medical marijuana dispensaries, professional grow operations or processing facilities. As written, it also stops any existing medical marijuana dispensaries, grow ops or processing facilities from moving or expanding. This first reading was passed 5 to 4, with president pro tem Jill Gaebler, Tom Strand, at-large, Murray and Collins voting against.

During discussion, Keith King, District 3, amended the ordinance, removing the council's ability to extend this moratorium; only Collins voted against. King also attempted to amend the ordinance to 1) allow existing businesses to move or expand and 2) only affect businesses within certain zones. According to city planning and development director Peter Wysocki, the second item — amending the ordinance to only affect businesses within certain zones — would have to be approved by the planning commission. He agreed to cut that part, but the amendment was still voted down 6 to 3, with King, Murray and Strand voting in favor.

The medical marijuana moratorium ordinance will be read at the next council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 27. In the mean time, read the text of the moratorium, minus King's amendment, below.

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