Proposed pot club regulations up for discussion at City Hall - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Proposed pot club regulations up for discussion at City Hall

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Stakeholders in the marijuana industry met to discuss proposed legislation that would create a business license for cannabis clubs in Colorado. 
Right now, Colorado Springs does not have a business license to issue cannabis clubs.

The need for the law was brought to Representative Kit Roupe by medical marijuana dispensaries that are required to get licenses and pay taxes.

"They were observing private clubs conducting conducting sale of marijuana, either recreational or medical, within their establishments," Roupe said. "This is in violation of the law. They're not getting licenses, they're not paying sales tax."

As News5 first exposed, some cannabis clubs in Colorado Springs use the business as a front to sell recreational marijuana using a reimbursement process. It's a loophole to get around the law because it's still illegal to sell recreational marijuana in Colorado Springs.

Attorney Robert Corry has defended the reimbursement model in court. He says it holds up. "Out of pocket costs are then reimbursed by the members in a private club setting."

Law enforcement doesn't have any statues or ordinances to enforce in regards to private pot clubs. Lt. Mark Comte says the community's needs have to be prioritized. 

"The community would probably rather have us go after the heroin epidemic, say as a narcotics unit, or methamphetamine, than to go after somebody using marijuana in a private club," he says.

KC Stark runs a bring-your-own cannabis club in Colorado Springs called Studio A64. "A lot of people assume that cannabis clubs are allowed to sell cannabis," he said. "That's not the case, that's not our model. Our model is safe adult responsible use."

He views this draft of the bill as a good start to productive regulations. "This is a way to weed out those that might want to use this as a front for drug dealing."

The proposed bill will likely undergo changes, and could go through the statehouse next year.

Another option is for local lawmakers to write a similar law at the local level. Pueblo County has already done so. They regulate cannabis clubs through land use and zoning ordinances. The clubs are not allowed to sell pot. That's enforced by the code enforcement officer. 

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