Council delays RMJ decision
Though the city of Colorado Springs previously allocated $250,000 for a November election — which it's estimated would cost between $465,000 and $700,000 — City Council decided Tuesday to put off discussion about allowing recreational-marijuana stores and potentially refer it to a crowded April ballot in order to save money. The ultimate decision of whether to act or not will have to come by the end of next January.
"When I found out the cost of this, I was in sticker shock," said Council President Keith King. "I just felt that ... I would not want to support that kind of money."
As it stands today, the ballot question, which is being pushed by Councilor Jill Gaebler, would establish a further delay, even if passed:
"Shall the City authorize, regulate, and license the lawful operation of marijuana establishments and marijuana-related facilities within the City ... and to pass an ordinance establishing a moratorium on the licensing of marijuana establishments until July 1, 2015 ..."
Just before 3 a.m. last Friday, the New York State Assembly passed the Compassionate Care Bill by a vote of 113 to 14. With similar success in the Senate, the bill makes New York the 23rd medical-marijuana state, a significant occurrence in a state where pot possession figured prominently in the now-dead, controversial "stop and frisk" policy of New York City police.
The plan, for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders, is a "restrictive pilot program," according to Marijuana Business Daily: The department will have 18 months to establish regulations for medical sales and seven years to reauthorize the program. New York has "finally done something significant" for a small patient base, says Gabriel Sayegh of the Drug Policy Alliance in a press release. Those suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, Parkinson's, Huntington's, Lou Gehrig's disease, some spinal cord injuries, and children with epilepsy will all be eligible for treatment under the agreement.
"That said, this is not the bill we wanted," says Sayegh. Eligible conditions are more restrictive than first proposed, and smoking is banned. Additionally, only five companies in a state of 20 million people will be licensed to grow and distribute the plant, which will be taxed at 7 percent.
For RMJ dispensaries already offering a delivery option, a new independent app seeks to be the hub that facilitates those transactions. Brooklyn-based Dispensed2U would neither handle nor deliver the product, only host the transaction. It's currently running an Indiegogo campaign to raise $125,000. The company is counting on the expansion of legal marijuana, though it's obviously aiming to gain customers in Colorado and Washington. See tiny.cc/pwixhx for more.