Jun 27, 2011 7:11 PM by John Romero

Springs city council to vote on mmj fees tomorrow

As medical marijuana dispensaries get ready for new state regulations to take effect July 1st, shop owners in Colorado Springs are concerned over a newly proposed set of city fees.

Reza Hassani runs the American Wellness Center, a medical marijuana shop on the city's west side. He says for a newly elected city council that ran by and large on pro business platforms, this proposal isn't helping his business at all. "Well it's pro-business for them for sure. Not for us. Definitely they're making money." he says, "But it's not good for business owners."

Hassani says he and many other shop owners are just small businessmen who feel the state and now the city are treating them unfairly. "People think that dispensaries are banking all of the money. But it's not true. It's not the case. The city and the state are hitting them (shop owners) hard." he says.

We took the proposed fee list to newly elected city council member Angela Dougan. "After looking at them I'd have to say I have a lot of questions and there are some red flags for me as well." she says, looking over the list. She points to possibly redundant practices, like state and city background checks as concerns, as well as the fee rates themselves. "The renewal fee is almost 18x the amount of a typical business fee." she says, "Again I realize this industry does have additional mandates and issues that we have to look in to. But 18x is a bit high to me."

Dougan says in a time where nearly all business is good business, the proposed rates may not be the best option. "I want to be open for business." she says, "When I see stuff like this it raises some red flags."

Hassani hopes Dougan and her fellow council members take a close look at the fees before passing them before it's too late for his business and others. "I think by hitting dispensaries with these high fees, they're going to put a lot of them out of business." he says.

City council will vote on the proposed fees tomorrow afternoon during their formal session.



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