May 26, 2010 12:46 AM by Matt Stafford
Colorado Springs' City Council passed an ordinance to begin a pre-application process for Medical Marijuana businesses in the city.
Tuesday's move by the council comes in anticipation of Governor Bill Ritter signing House Bill 1284 into law. The bill will begin a year-long moratorium on licensing for new medical marijuana businesses beginning July 1, 2010. Businesses not already operating, paying sales tax and already locally approved would not be allowed to open for at least a year.
The problem for Colorado Springs is that medical marijuana businesses are not lawful as of now, according to the city attorney.
Tuesday's ordinance passed the council by a vote of 6 to 3. It will amend business licensing regulations to allow a pre-application process for medical marijuana businesses, so that they will be accounted for by the July 1st deadline.
Public comment at the meeting was predominately in favor of passing the ordinance, many dispensary owners and patients speaking out in favor of medical marijuana in general.
Steve Wind, a Colorado Springs resident speaking out in Tuesday's meeting, asked to council for a local ballot question. Wind says he would like to see Colorado Springs voters have a community opinion on medical marijuana. At this point he says they haven't had that chance.
Now city employees are waiting to see how many dispensaries will seek pre-application, so they won't be shut down after the July 1st, 2010 deadline. Those not locally approved will technically be illegal after the deadline, if the bill is signed into law as many expect.
The bill also contains what people are calling a local option, giving communities the ability to opt out of allowing medical marijuana dispensaries. The city attorney told council members that the local option could be revisited down the road.