In a seven-and-a-half hour meeting that began shortly after breakfast and ended right before dinner, the El Paso County Board of Commissioners decided Thursday to wait until Aug. 26 to debate additional language before considering adding a medical marijuana center ban to the November ballot.
The delay was decided after multiple commentators requested a "grandfather" clause, allowing businesses currently operating in unincorporated El Paso County to continue business if a ban should pass the electorate. The commissioners will debate the addition, and should it be left out of the final wording, will re-debate whether to refer a ballot measure as originally intended.
"These decisions aren't easy to make," says Commissioner Sallie Clark.
The board heard comments from attorneys, land developers and patients. Steve Wind of Let Us Vote COS reiterated his request for a vote, stating he'd like the commissioners to ban it in both incorporated and unincorporated El Paso County (which they can't).
District Attorney Dan May came forward with various marijuana-based death statistics, as well as anecdotes from stories he'd read in the Denver Post. Most enjoyable was Wind, who sat in the front row with a lime green sign that had "pot shops" circled and crossed out sitting on his chest, facing the commissioners.
County lawmakers have until Sept. 3 to submit an item to the November ballot. Should a ban question pass, centers in unincorporated areas would have to close by Dec. 17.