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Ex-City Council candidate creates controversy




King before country

Last Saturday, Tom Gallagher unexpectedly dropped out of the race to represent west-side District 3 on City Council. At the same time, he surprisingly endorsed well-financed, conservative former state Sen. Keith King. It all came almost exactly one month after a video posted to YouTube showed Gallagher asking for political funds from his main base of support, the medical-marijuana industry, which responded with more than $3,300 in donations.

"What instantly came to my mind was: What kind of a deal was brokered there?" says Judy Negley, whose Indispensary centers contributed $500 to Gallagher's campaign. "Who knows what was a factor — like I said, I haven't spoken with Tom — [but], like, what the hell? ... It's just kind of confounding, absolutely."

Neither Gallagher nor King responded to voicemails left by the Independent.

Obviously, there's curiousity about the fate of Gallagher's remaining money. As of press time, Gallagher had not filed a campaign-finance report since March 1; that report listed $3,132.07 on hand for the period between Feb. 15 and Feb. 28, all but $400 clearly tied to marijuana. But the endorsement of King raises other questions, too, especially considering Gallagher's record with the MMJ industry during his years on City Council.

"I think it would be difficult to replicate the kind of support that we would've expected to get from Tom," says Negley.

For instance, though King ignored campaign questionnaires from the Indy and the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council, he described his position on marijuana to the Gazette this way: "We need to ban marijuana retail operations until the Legislature passes the bill to enable Amendment 64." Locally, he says, "stores must be kept out of residential areas" and related taxes should "help cover extra enforcement, legal costs and an educational program ..."

Also, during his last year in the Colorado Senate, he voted in favor of a failed attempt to create a THC-DUI limit for drivers, which the marijuana industry stridently opposes.

Thus: "No, I'm not gonna back King," says Mark Slaugh, membership director for the CSMCC. "We chose [candidate Jim] Bensberg as our backup.

"And, honestly, I'm so ticked off at what Tom did, but I don't wanna have animosity there. It's just about moving forward."

Keef crumbs

• Reporting on Colorado's regulatory framework, the Oregonian spoke with Marco Vasquez at the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division, who said the MMED's down to a "skeleton crew" of nine officers and a budget of $3.8 million, from $8.6 million.

• The Joint Select Committee on the Implementation of the Amendment 64 Task Force Recommendations — lawmakers taking up the next phase of the cause begun by volunteers — will meet publicly at 1:30 p.m., Friday, March 22 in the Old Supreme Court Chambers in the state Capitol building.

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