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  Volume No. 12 Issue No. 10 October 2015  

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Feature Stories
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  Cannibus clubs: who decides?
  By Jason Gray

   Colorado recreational and medical marijuana industries received special attention from state and local governments last month, as policy-makers continue to deal with conflicting federal and state laws.
   Jill Gaebler, Colorado Springs City Council member, has asked the city attorney to prepare a ballot question that would place the decision to allow recreational dispensaries in the Springs in the hands of the voters. If the vote by the City Council to include this on the November ballot fails, the Every Vote Counts organization has committed to force the ballot question by petition, said Amy Lathen, vice chairwoman of the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners.
   Amendment 64, the Colorado Constitution amendment relating to recreational marijuana, states that cities and counties can opt out of allowing recreational pot retail sales in their areas. Both the city of Colorado Springs and El Paso County opted out soon after Amendment 64 passed, Lathen said.
   “We haven’t been officially asked yet to put the question on the November ballot at the county level,” Lathen said. “But it might happen. The difference is that if the board votes against making a ballot question, you can’t petition the county board to force a ballot measure like you can at the city level.” The commissioners unanimously voted at the May 29 meeting to authorize a temporary moratorium on marijuana clubs in unincorporated El Paso County.
   “Marijuana clubs are where businesses charge a membership fee or otherwise exclude the public, but where people can gather within the establishment and engage in activities, which include the use and consumption of marijuana,” said Lori Seago, senior assistant county attorney, at the May 29 meeting. “To my knowledge, we’ve had a couple inquiries, but no one has taken concrete steps to open one in unincorporated El Paso County.”
   The marijuana club in Colorado Springs opened under the city’s definition of a private club, Seago said. The county board imposed a six-month moratorium on marijuana clubs, specifically to prevent one from opening under the county’s current definition.
   “I appreciate that we’re taking a thoughtful approach to this,” said Peggy Littleton,
   county commissioner, at the meeting. “I’m glad we’re not saying no not ever; we’re just saying let’s think about it and make it thoughtful.”


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