Unlike the city of Colorado Springs and the government of El Paso County, Pueblo and its county are of two minds concerning medical marijuana. The city of Pueblo, last year, passed zoning laws essentially making it impossible to open a center within city limits, while Pueblo County just granted its second license, to dispensary Nature's Remedy.
First reported by the Pueblo Chieftain, the license is one of six total the county expects to grant, says Commissioner John Cordova in a phone conversation with the Independent.
"There used to be 17 but what happened to the other 11 I have no idea," he says. "But we sort of expected that; you know, it was a flurry when we first started thinking about it and they’re down to six from 17."
The paperwork is modeled after Pueblo County's liquor licensing.
Meanwhile, the commissioner says the county has already collected over $70,000 in fees related to medical marijuana. Of course, that's not why Cordova and Commissioner Anthony Nuñez support the issue. (The third commissioner, Jeff Chostner, recused himself because of his current race for district attorney.)
"I’ve seen some of the patients that have lobbied here for it, and that’s what I went by," says Cordova. "Somebody brought me a picture the other day about this individual that had huge tumors on his head, on his scalp, and they’ve been treating it with a tar made from medical marijuana; and they’re reducing to the fact they almost look like they’re gone...
"I’ve heard a lot of people that have taken it for medical reasons and I’m glad that we made that decision to approve those. There’s always gonna be abuse of some kind and I don’t think we can punish the people that actually need it — and there is a medical benefit for — just because somebody chooses to abuse it."
As far as why the licensing is going forward now, the commissioner says it was that same common refrain: waiting on the state.
"We were sort of waiting for guidance, and finally I think we said, ‘Well, wait a minute — we don’t know when the state’s gonna act,'" Cordova says. "So we decided to go forward with it, and it turns out we’re pretty much in step with what the state is requiring."