On Tuesday, Colorado Springs City Council had their first vote to ban cannabis clubs within the city, passing by a vote of 6-3. This action also requires existing clubs to close down within 8 years. A second vote by the city council is expected in two weeks.
During Tuesday’s meeting, both supporters and opponents of the clubs spoke for more than three hours trying to sway council’s decision.
Cannabis clubs are currently operating in a “gray” area of the law, with patrons paying a membership fee and the clubs provide the customers with marijuana to consume.
Earlier this year, the Lazy Lion cannabis club was raided by Federal agents. Owner of the Lazy Lion, Andrew Poarch, addressed the council asking them to not ban these clubs.
“My doors are still open. I’m still complaint with the state of Colorado. I don’t understand why there is such push back in Colorado? We aren’t doing anything wrong. Marijuana saves thousands and thousands of lives every day,” .” said Poarch.
Council members faced citizens swearing at them, and a few even called them dictators. Councilman Keith King called the comments some of the most inappropriate he’s seen during his time on council. “You have no right to call us dictators, we are not dictators,” said King.
After the decision came down, councilman Don Knight said he was pleased. “We can’t just allow one type of business to do recreational sales and ban everyone else, that’s not fair,” said Knight.
Speakeasy Cannabis Club owner Jaymen Johnson said he will spend the next eight years fighting to overturn this council’s decision.
“I have pretty good odds of repealing it with more sensible people,” said Johnson.
He pointed to the outpouring of support from the cannabis community, demonstrated by the number of people who spoke ahead of the vote, and said council made a mistake.
“We were very much able to demonstrate public support and this went unnoticed among council,” said Johnson.
Opponents of the clubs said they breed illegal activity, while other public speakers voiced concerns about clubs being in close proximity to schools and raising neighborhood crime rates. Business owners said allowing these clubs to stay will deter future businesses from considering opening up in the city.
Cannabis club supporters said they would start organizing a recall on Wednesday.