Jan 22, 2014 12:26 AM by Kate Tripp, Maddie Garrett

Manitou Springs votes to legalize sale of recreational marijuana

Manitou Springs City Council voted 6 to 1 for the sale of recreational marijuana.

The decision was made late Tuesday night after hours of public comment from both sides of the issue. Councilman Gary Smith was the only member to vote against the ordinance.

The ordinance goes into effect on January 26, 2014, cancelling the moratorium that's been in place for several months. At that time, businesses can start applying for their retail marijuana licenses.  City leaders said it will likely be several months before a retail marijuana shop will open.

Only two retail marijuana shops will be allowed, and medical marijuana dispensaries will get first choice on retail licenses. Retail marijuana and testing facilities will be allowed in the city, however marijuana manufacturing and cultivation will not. Unlike most municipalities, Manitou Springs is also requiring that all retail marijuana be tested for potency and contaminants and labeled as such.

The retail pot shops will not be allowed in the city's historical downtown area. The city is also putting in a place a rule that requires retail marijuana businesses to make sure customers only make one purchase a day.

Some people in Manitou Springs said they are unhappy with the vote because it's not the kind of business they think is right for the city.

"Having retail sales of that particular substance in an area that's trying to promote family tourism, I don't believe is a good idea," said Judy Cranick at the meeting.

But others, like Kristof Decloedt, welcome the business and the opportunities that come with it. Decloedt is starting up a shuttle/tourism business for people who want to consume cannabis while touring the area.

"To me it's all about the local economy right now, this town could use it, Colorado Springs could use it. I'm all for it," said Decloedt.

There's already a movement in Manitou Springs though, to start a petition to get retail marijuana on the November ballot. Those opposed to it hope to overturn the city's ordinance next fall.



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