Colorado Springs Cannabis Association opposes a retail marijuana ballot measure Colorado Springs City Council plans to review on Monday to consider whether to refer it to voters for the Nov. 3 election.
In a July 23 letter to Council, the association notes the measure would limit new retail mariiuana licenses to 24, which, if approved, would "destroy the existing medical marijuana business model, and put in grave risk over 80% of our current businesses and employees."
Moreover, such limitations "upends existing free market dynamics, forces City Council to pick winners and losers in an established business environment, punishes entrepreneurship, penalizes individual investment in the community, and fails to honor the cap that council placed on marijuana stores in 2017."
Currently, there are 118 medical marijuana stores in Colorado Springs, and CSCA spokesman Brett Moore says they'd like to be able to convert their license to retail, rather than duke it out with one another to fight over a limited number of licenses.
Ideally, he says, CSCA would like to see the city OK dual licensing. "That's as simple as having a medical license and a retail license on the wall," he says, noting "It's being done all over the state with little fanfare and little problems, and that's basic."
But given the proposal Council is set to consider on Monday would limit retail licenses to a mere two dozen, Moore says, "We would rather have no measure than a bad measure."
Retail advocates have been trying for years to bring a measure to voters. Now that some believe it has the five Council votes necessary to refer, there's disagreement over the proposal, advanced by Together For Colorado Springs, in which the Indy
's owner, John Weiss, is involved.
Moore, asked where the licensing limit came from, says, "As far as the Cannabis Association is concerned, that is an arbitrary number picked out of the sky."
He says the association fears the 22,000 "red card" medical marijuana patients in the city would gravitate to retail stores if given the chance, killing the MMJ business.
"We at CSCA believe that retail sales should be there, but we have to look out after out 118 businesses, and the established medical marijuana industry that's built out in the last decade and throwing out a low number of retail stores will really wreck that economy," Moore said.
We've reached out to the T4CS group for a comment and will circle back when we hear something.
Meanwhile Councilor Bill Murray tells the association he's game to simply ask voters to allow retail stores and figure out the details later.
"First, let’s give our community the respect it deserves and allow it to opt in or out of Rec MMJ," he tells the Indy
in an email. "Then the Council will have the opportunity to address all the additional issues."
Read the association's letter to Council here:
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