Enough signatures have been collected to put the issue of repealing a local medical marijuana ban before voters in November.
Colorado Springs medical marijuana lawyers were encouraged by the news, out of Fort Collins, where the city clerk confirmed the that the minimum 4,200 signatures were indeed collected and certified.
According to The Coloradoan, there were about 9,000 total signatures collected, but the clerk’s office needed only to verify less than half of those.
While medical marijuana in Colorado has been legal since 2000, some municipalities have enacted bans within their borders. Colorado Springs isn’t one of those, but Fort Collins is one of the 80 or so that have. There are about 700 dispensaries operational throughout the state.
School officials and law enforcement officers have harped on rising drug offenses. However, several recent studies exploring drug use, crime and medical marijuana have found no real connection.
The truth of the matter is that these operations have actually been positive for our community. First, you have the main purpose, which is patient relief of chronic pain and other ailments. Secondarily, you have the sales and use taxes collected by the city. In 2009, the city collected $110,700 in marijuana taxes. The following year, they collected nearly $550,000 in taxes. In 2011, it was nearly $771,000. This is revenue that can be used to bolster schools, public safety and public service.
Regulations in Colorado Springs mandate that dispensaries have to stay at least 400 feet from day cares, schools and drug rehab centers (state law suggests 1,000 feet).
The Fort Collins’ ban only narrowly passed by 52 percent last year. Now, it remains to be seen whether advocates will be successful in repealing that.
City attorneys plan to draft the ballot language at one of the upcoming council meetings.
The repeal would still keep the tougher restrictions in place. That would include forbidding dispensaries within 1,000 feet of a playground or school and 500 feet away from churches, day cares and recreation sites. Further, the dispensaries will be limited to one dispensary for every 500 registered marijuana patients.
A simple 50 percent majority is required for the measure to pass.