Jul 26, 2013 6:45 PM by Eric Ross
Manitou Springs could be the next recreational pot shop hub of Southern Colorado. City leaders are open to the idea of allowing the industry to set up base and that has people on both sides of the issue expressing their opinions.
"There has been long standing retailers here that have stayed for years and years," business owner Doug Lewis said. "We've had numerous restaurants that have opened up and some really high-end retail shops."
Lewis says recreational marijuana stores may not necessarily be the best fit in a town filled with rich history. Over the next few weeks, the City will look at giving the green light to this growing industry.
"It's acceptable, profitable, and enjoyable," one Manitou Springs woman said. "I really think we need to get over the social stigma of it being so scary and bad."
Supporters say sales tax revenue from pot could boost Manitou Springs' economy---but it's still too early to assess all the pros and cons. The Chamber of Commerce says they've had very little communication and interaction with the City and its attorney regarding this topic.
As for people like Lewis who says retail space is limited and parking is full to capacity---he's not convinced Manitou is the right place for this business.
"There's a lot of questions that need to be answered before we just say that Manitou is going to become the new mecca of southern colorado," he said.
Manitou Springs City Council will discuss recreational marijuana sales at a work session scheduled for Aug. 13.
Colorado cities have until Oct. 1 to decide whether to allow or ban recreational retail pot shops.
So far, El Paso County, Colorado Springs, Fountain, Monument, Green Mountain Falls and Woodland park have chosen to opt out.
Palmer Lake will have a discussion regarding marijuana sales during its Aug. 8 meeting.
The Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce declined to comment on our story because of a lack of information they had available on the subject matter.
Mayor Marc Snyder was not available for comment Friday. Calls to Manitou Springs City Hall were not returned.