As noted in last week's CannaBiz, City Council rushed through an ordinance on Sept. 22 that, when passed, would put a six-month moratorium on any new cannabis clubs and land-use permits for medical marijuana businesses. After 31/2 hours of debate, Council member Andy Pico suggested the ordinance be split in half, which any Councilor can do without challenge. Council then approved the first reading of a moratorium on new cannabis clubs, which will be in effect until after the second reading, slated for Oct. 13. Only Councilor Helen Collins voted against passage. City Council will revisit the MMJ half of the ordinance at its Oct. 13 meeting.
But many were asking at the Sept. 22 meeting why medical marijuana facilities were initially lumped in with cannabis clubs. Peter Wysocki, director of planning and development for the city, explained it as an attempt to make it easier to pass zoning and land use regulations that might affect both. The moratorium would affect any "establishment licensed by the City of Colorado Springs and the State of Colorado for the growth, cultivation, acquisition, manufacture, storage, dispensing and/or sale of medical marijuana or medical marijuana infused products."
But such businesses already are restricted to commercial districts, whereas Councilor and moratorium proponent Don Knight raised concerns about grow operations in residential neighborhoods. Private caregivers are allowed to grow up to six plants for as many as five registered patients in the city's residential districts.
According to Councilor Bill Murray, these private caregivers did not fall under the ordinance proposed Sept. 22. Watch for a revised version that will try to address private grow operations at the Oct. 13 meeting.
Gas & Grass
Denver-based dispensary Native Roots is opening two Gas & Grass locations in Colorado Springs, at 1003 N. Academy Blvd. and 1705 W. Uintah St. The former Conoco stations will serve as both gas stations and medical marijuana dispensaries when they open in mid-October. The stores also will sell a typical selection of gas station goods including cigarettes, lottery tickets and candy bars.
"The idea was just to eliminate an extra errand for MMJ users," says Mandy Melby of Native Roots. She says the company plans on giving a gas discount for MMJ buyers, with details to be released closer to opening.
"We're still sorting out all the details that come with being a pioneer in the market," she adds.
While a combined gas station and dispensary sounds odd, the concept has existed in other parts of the country since at least 2000, when Maxor Pharmacy (not a medical marijuana business) repurposed a Phillips 66 station in Canyon, Texas, according to a news story from the Amarillo Globe-News.