Posted: Nov 14, 2012 5:42 PM by Matt Stafford
Updated: Nov 14, 2012 9:28 PM
When it comes to Amendment 64 -- legalizing possession of marijuana for anyone over 21 years old - a lot of people say feel the process is going to take a while to work out. Everyone is waiting for a reaction from the federal government, but in the meantime people are trying to plan for the future.
News Five had a chance to ask Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach his thoughts on the issue on Wednesday.
"I'm very concerned about public safety," says Mayor Bach. "I asked the Police Chief what this might mean in terms of his need for increased sworn officers. He said he doesn't know yet; it could be 50, 100, 150, 200 officers. Well we don't have the money to do that."
If the process to set up retail sales of marijuana goes anything like the process to handle sales of medical marijuana, this could take a few legislative go-rounds. For medical marijuana in Colorado it took two bills in 2010 and another in 2011 to get to where we are now; eventually setting up regulating agencies, licensing, and letting local governments decide whether to allow it or not.
Mayor Bach says if the federal government allows legalization to move forward, he expects it to go in a similar way.
"It would be a City Council decision; I would obviously weigh in," explains Mayor Bach.
"I need to understand, from our city attorney's office, what our options are. I understand that the amendment that was passed to the State Constitution allows some opting out by municipalities. I need to understand what that really means," says Mayor Bach.
News 5 also spoke with City Council members in Pueblo; like others, they're waiting on the fed too.
Councilman Chris Nicoll says council has talked with their city attorney about options.
While Colorado Springs did set up regulations for and license medical marijuana dispensaries, there currently aren't any dispensaries in Pueblo.
Nicoll says the vote shows a will of the people and they want to take that seriously moving forward after Amendment 64.
Amendment 64 failed among El Paso County voters by a slim margin; 50.6 percent voted no. In Pueblo County Amendment 64 passed with 54.9 percent saying yes.