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CannaBiz: Fountain looks more open to MMJ



Fountain of hope

Although 2011 efforts to overturn Fountain's voter-approved ban on medical marijuana businesses went up in smoke, former City Councilman Al Lender says next year could be different.

The makeup of Fountain City Council has taken on a different tone with the Dec. 6 swearing-in of three new members, Lender believes. "There will always be conflict," he says, "but the new people seem different."

Lender says he plans to ask Council to refer a question to next November's ballot to reverse the prohibition, which won voter approval in November 2010 by just 24 votes.

The issue has been contentious. Lender, voted out of office in a 2005 recall, used harsh words with several former Councilors after zoning regulations they enacted in June 2010 prevented him from opening an MMJ center and grow operation on the outskirts of town. One Councilwoman sought a restraining order against Lender, and a Councilman hit him during a heated meeting.

A few months ago, Lender tried to collect 370 signatures to trigger a re-vote on last month's ballot. He obtained 180 before he had to stop for personal reasons.

At least one new Councilor, Patricia St. Louis, tells the Indy she would back another effort. "If citizens want that reconsidered, I'd definitely be open-minded to listen to their wishes and support that outcome," she says, adding that she favors limiting locations of MMJ businesses but not a total ban.

Colleague Jim Coke also says he'd be "open-minded," should a reversal question emerge. "It isn't something I'd either support or don't support right now," he says, "but I'd be fair if it were to come up again."

The third Council newbie, Phillip Thomas, said while campaigning that he would follow federal law, which prohibits MMJ.

Fizz buzz: Keef returns

Medicinal drink purveyor Keef Cola is back in business and should have shelves at Colorado MMJ centers stocked with its drinks this week. The company suspended shipments for several months, during which time it switched from a Boulder-based distributor to a company in Denver, where the regulatory climate is less restrictive.

Some centers gave up waiting. Others loyal to the flavored, fizzy, THC-infused beverages are happy to hear the news.

"They're fantastic products. They've obviously had to make some changes, but it's been well worth it," says Shelley Wieck of Natural Mystic Cannabis Caregivers.

But Palmer Lake Wellness Center no longer carries the Keef brand. "Competitors have come out with better-tasting beverages, like Dixie Elixirs and MarQaha Teas, which our patients like," says a center employee named Jeff.

In social media posts, Keef says it's expanding and "teaming up with other great brands."

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