Rally Kicks Off Campaign Against Ban On Marijuana Dispensaries


Graphic: Colorado Springs Independent

​Lost jobs and property tax revenues, more commercial real estate vacancies and foreclosures, and difficulties for patients will result if voters on November 2 approve a ban on medical marijuana-related businesses in unincorporated El Paso County, Colorado, according to speakers at an opposition kick-off campaign on Thursday.

“We’re encouraging you to vote ‘No’ if you believe in patient rights and the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship, want to save jobs and protect the local economy, and want to keep businesses tightly regulated and out of our neighborhoods,” said Michael Elliott, campaign manager for Citizens for Safer Communities, reports Debbie Kelley at The Colorado Springs Gazette.

Held at Penrose Public Library, the event drew about 100 attendees.
Proposition 1A would prohibit marijuana dispensaries, grow operations, and manufacturers of marijuana-related medical products such as baked goods, from operating in unincorporated areas of the county.
If passed, the measure would not remove registered patients’ ability to obtain marijuana for medical purposes; Colorado voters approved that as a constitutional right in 2000.
But it would mean that residents in outlying areas of the county would have to use individual caregivers to obtain their cannabis instead of going to dispensaries, would would have to shut down by August 31, 2011.
Caregivers are not tightly regulated by the state as are dispensaries, according to patient Audrey Hatfield, who said she has been using medical marijuana since March to help control epileptic seizures.
“Centers are a safe and caring environment,” Hatfield said. “They’ve paid their money to be in business, and as long as they’re in compliance, I see no problem with them. You can’t just walk in and say, ‘Hey, I want to buy some weed.’ It doesn’t work that way.”

Photo: LoopNet
Developer Steve Hammers: “This industry has created desperately needed jobs”

​Of the 41 applications the county has received for medical marijuana-related businesses, about 10 are now operating, according to local developer Steve Hammers.
Hammers said he stands to lose $5 million worth of building projects if Prop 1A, and a similar proposal in Montrose, are approved by voters. Hammers leases about 10,000 square feet of space in Claremont Business Park to medical marijuana businesses and had planned to construct four new buildings there at a cost of $2.3 million. He had the same type of project scheduled in Montrose.
“Investors have put them on hold, pending the outcome of the election,” Hammers said. “It’s too bad because the economic trickle-down effect is enormous. This industry has created desperately needed jobs for lawyers, real estate agents, banks, engineers, builders, laborers and others.”
But Steven J. Wind, who opposes marijuana dispensaries and supports Prop 1A, takes a different view, because marijuana is bad, ‘k?
“When we have drugs all over the place, it’s going to be safer?” Wind asked with an air of superiority. “I find that hilarious. They’re rallying to make drugs available for everybody, and I find it so pathetic that they’re trying to convince people this is a good thing.”
No, Steven. You wanna know what’s really pathetic? What’s really pathetic is when some clueless tight-ass lies in public. Dispensaries “make drugs available for everybody”? Really, Steven? Dispensaries in fact exist only to make safe access to medical marijuana a reality for seriously ill patients.