As I look back on my calendar in MS outlook, I remember the day of December 14th most vividly. As explained in my previous post, we had a less than favorable decision from the City Planning Commission in their recommendation to City Council. Literally, City Planning officials disallowed public comment and even made points to say the city “sold its soul to the devil” by allowing medical cannabis facilities to operate.
On Tuesday December 14th 2010, the City Council reviewed the proposed ordinance to zone away over half the Colorado Springs MMJ industry. As a reminder, this ordinance would have limited the allowable floor space for growing plants in a medical cannabis facility to a maximum of 20% of the total space. It would have also increased minimum distancing requirements from 400 to 1000 feet for MMJ facilities.
With requirements from House Bill 1284 requiring facilities to produce 70% of their total inventory, it’s a wonder this was even put in front of City leaders for consideration. Other illogical considerations went before city council in this ordinance and, for once, compassion won the day over short sighted political bias. In simpler terms, we won.
One victory in what is a war of countless battles against the City of Colorado Springs, its conservatism, and our elected leaders. From 2 proposed ban initiatives since February of last year to the vote on 1A, the battles have always been uphill against a stronger force. December 14th marked a historical time where the people won, through sheer numbers and strong voice against the assumptions of establishment.
Forever more, MMJ will be allowed to stay under the reasonable terms selected and advocated for by the people most impacted by legislation. Days like December 14th make me proud to be American and to live in a State like Colorado. I cannot thank everyone who spoke, wrote letters, and made the calls for change in our community.
Democracy in action is exactly what happens when the City Council Chamber is packed with concerned stake holders all prepared to voice their opposition to the City Planning Commission’s recommendations. After waiting for over 7 hours to give their 2 cents in a 2 minute speech, much of the industry was relieved and over joyed when the City Council promised to keep their word and to accept city staff recommendations that ensured no one would be shut down. Not a single center was closed because of separation requirements, zoning changes, or arbitrary distancing.
Not a single vote was cast against the MMJ community by ANY of the city councilors; including Darryl Glenn.
Everyone voted in favor of MMJ and this reflects the people’s same choice seen in the 896 vote margin of the voters who prefer to tax, regulate, monitor, and access medical cannabis facilities. The priorities of the city dictate complete compliance and given this opportunity, the sentiment of the MMJ community should be focused on being the best businesses in Colorado Springs. The City leaders promised a favorable business environment with the stern warning that the industry now has the burden of responsibility to be the best it can be. The work of the CSMCC has come to fruition and the future seems brighter.
The positivity of that day will stay with me for life. The City Planning Commission didn’t even show up and the only two dissenting testimonies were from the archdiocese and the Colorado University system. Considering the political environment of this city, this win is huge and it seems the economy is poised to grow in this industry under favorable conditions. I am excited to see the 2011 year set competitive differentiation and create better cannabis centers in the second largest city in our state. All in all, a great 2010 comes to a positive end for medical cannabis in Colorado.