As reported on Wednesday by the inestimable John Hazlehurst, Vice Mayor Larry Small and Councilman Sean Paige will not be attending Mayor Lionel Rivera's June 30 "State of the City" speech.
In the Business Journal's article, Small says he "appreciate[s] that this is an important event for the [Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce], but considering the City’s financial condition and the cuts to staff and services we have had to make, I cannot support the use of tax dollars for this event."
And while Paige was in philosophical agreement with Small, his protest was for a different reason: the Chamber came out against medical marijuana in Colorado Springs. Here's what he wrote in a commented response to the CSBJ:
My decision not to attend the State of the City is not in any way a commentary on the mayor, but on the event’s host, The Chamber of Commerce. First, I share the Vice Mayor’s questions about why a cash-strapped city is buying tables at this (or any other private) event.
But second, and more importantly, I’m signaling my displeasure with the Chamber’s discriminatory, close-minded and anti-business attitude about legal medical marijuana-related enterprises in the city. I think it sets a bad precedent for the “voice of business” to treat some businesses as less-equal, or less-acceptable, than others — for the Chamber to treat these businesses (and, by extension, their patrons) like second class people and pariahs.
In his own blog for Local Liberty Online, Paige again stated his support for medical marijuana centers:
I have listened to both sides, as a layperson, and come down on the side of a broad reading of the amendment. The deciding factor for me is that the people for whom the law was written — MMJ patients, remember them? — seem content with the dispensary model. They are voting for it with their feet and their pocketbooks. And as a non-patient, I don't feel qualified or comfortable trying to override that choice. Some patients can and do grow their own. Others (who may be too ill or scared to do so, or who lack the know-how) can go to a mom and pop provider. Others prefer to patronize a so-called dispensary. I'm not sure why so many non-patients want to interfere in those private and personal choices, since no one can buy from a dispensary without a doctor's recommendation. But I find that presumptuous.
Look for more in next Thursday's Independent.