A few updates since my last post and some more insight to the shape of Colorado Springs MMJ. The El Paso County ballot measure known as 1A was successfuly defeated, by a total of 896 votes. Talk about a close call to keep centers open in unincorportated El Paso County. Despite the win in the County, the battle continues for Colorado Springs Centers who face zoning regulations aimed at shutting down medical cannabis business. Social stigma weighs heavily on these decisions and some neighborhood organizations have requested a literal distancing of medical marijuana from our community. This is also symbolic and is representative of this City’s reluctance to fully accept medical cannabis despite the decision of voters to allow continued operations. The Organization of Westside Neighbors is one such group attempting to mislead the general public regarding medicinal marijuana. Prior to the vote on 1A, this group released a public opinion survey that was both misinforming and one sided. A copy of the survey is here:
My letter to OWN is below:
Dear Organization of Westside neighbors,
Your recent public survey about medical cannabis showed a public bias about the MMJ issue and about the reality surrounding medical cannabis centers. The first question is blatantly side tracking from the independent thought people should have before deciding important questions like “1A” that affect so much. The second question obviously leads into the third question about bans and you may as well be asking people to vote again on this issue. Again!
Another 4 questions are asking technical zoning questions to the public. These questions are being compared to county regulations that are a point of contentious law suit. El Paso County allowed, then regulated, then put to vote a ban on people’s businesses. They are being sued accordingly. Tax payers have to fork that over, so where is any mention of preventing these detriments? Has anyone heard of the law of unintended consequences in the event of a ban? Please see what the CSBJ has to say before making these surveys. OWN is failing to meet their first objective: “To inform residents of their rights and of the impact of governmental and commercial actions upon their lives.”
Where does a question of teenage use even come into play?! This is blatant public fear mongering and has no basis of logic. How is it ever the city’s job to tattle tale on crimes that aren’t happening? This question warrants serious consideration. There are less than 20 patients in Colorado under the age of 18. The average age of patients is 40. This industry is the most heavily regulated and any minor using medical cannabis must be recommended by two doctors. All facts that are ignored by the questions you’ve asked the public.
Additionally, all patients must pay a $90 fee and wait for 35 days until they can access a medical cannabis center. Has anyone at OWN read the state regulations or House Bill 1284? Please do before asking the public what they feel should be done. Much of what is being asked is already in place, so the public’s opinion on whether it “should” happen is null and void. It is already happening. In fact, the Colorado Springs has been working for over a year to ordinance and regulate the industry.
OWN is supposed to advocate for the Westside Neighborhood. These neighborhoods have become MMJ friendly zones in your community. Patients have a demand for this medicine, and the market will supply it one way or another. Why would you design a survey meant to turn public opinion against the businesses hiring, paying taxes, and utilizing previously vacant commercial real estate? There is no indication of increased crime because of centers according to the CSPD.
As a representative body for your community, you should be asking citizens questions pertinent to the way things are now. The rights, regulations, and truth about medical cannabis warrant clear distinction from the social stigma placed on the plant. You survey feeds that stigma and defeats its own purpose of being an independent opinion questionnaire. Not only will your results be skewed, but you’ll have done a great disservice to your community’s safety if 1A passes.
Why hasn’t OWN contacted the CSMCC about this or talked to a medical cannabis business owner before releasing this survey? Unregulated and neighborhood-based distribution for medical cannabis is the wrong model to be adopted. Keep the marijuana in regulated centers and out of residential homes.
For an organization representing the westside, OWN certainly seems to be out of place with its own neighbors who have not filed complaint or experienced any negative impact from medical cannabis centers. With 1A’s defeat, the question stands as to where this organization will choose to focus its efforts on this issue. As an area with a heavy concentration of centers, OWN should be advocating for the small businesses in thier neighborhood.
To let OWN know your opinion on this matter, please visit thier website and email thier representatives in the left side panel of contact information.