County officials meeting tomorrow to discuss marijuana ban

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While Colorado Springs is still undecided about retail marijuana, the El Paso County Board of Commissioners seems to be set to do something immediately.

The group will vote on two marijuana-related items tomorrow at its regular meeting: a resolution that will ban the possession, consumption, use or display of marijuana on county property and the first reading of an ordinance that will prohibit the operation of marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana product manufacturing facilities, marijuana testing facilities and retail marijuana stores in unincorporated El Paso County.

Medical marijuana shops are not banned in the county. Retail sales will be permitted starting in 2014 because voters passed Amendment 64. The amendment allows adults over the age of 21 to have one ounce of marijuana and to have six plants for personal use. It requires the state to set up regulations for growth, testing and retail sales of marijuana.

If passed, El Paso County will join neighboring Douglas County in banning retail marijuana sales. Parker has also banned it, while other cities issued a moratorium until the state regulations are fully in place. However, people can still possess one ounce of marijuana and grow their own plants statewide, only retail sales are banned.

The Board of Commissioners will discuss both items after 1 p.m. Tuesday at the meeting at the Centennial Hall Auditorium, 200 S. Cascade Ave.


7 Responses to County officials meeting tomorrow to discuss marijuana ban

  1. The word ‘discuss” as in: “Commissioners will discuss both items” has rather subtle implications in that one normally associates a discussion as one that has dialog moving in both directions. In the matter of statewide approval of recreational use of marijuana (1,252,951 Yes votes statewide compared to 1,032,326 No votes – a 55.83 majority) this ‘discussion’ was initiated by Commissioner Lathen as soon as the votes were tallied: “We will hear a resolution to ban recreational use in El Paso County”. A one-way dialog with a pre-determined outcome in that this measure will be introduced and approved. Period.

    As a formality, the public will be allowed to speak. But, no discussion. Going back to the term limit issue of 2010, these same ‘discussions’ were relayed to us from the Commissioners in terms such as: “Our constituents have stated overwhelmingly they want us to be able to serve three terms.” When called upon to produce the ‘numbers’ or to provide evidence of ‘overwhelming numbers of emails stating this support, none were forthcoming.

    A vote, forced by the people, came to a different conclusion: 167,490 said NO to the term limit extension (63.95%) which appears to be a direct contradiction of what the public was told, and asked to believe by the Commissioners. Without numbers to back up their statements – Commissioners comments ring hollow – and have proven to be inaccurate.

    Which brings up the core issue. With Billions of dollars of backed up infrastructure needs to include stormwater (county wide) – deteriorated roads and bridges – unfunded liability in retirement and pension funds – all needing to be funded by the small number of about 638,000 people in the county, are issues as this rebuilding faith and trust in leadership – or giving us further need to say NO when critical funding issues come before the public? Needed funding that will impact the quality of life for all of us. This rather narrow-minded, automatic ban on recreational use will have absolutely no impact on the amount of marijuana consumed. We will just have to be more careful where we keep it and will not benefit from the taxes legal use would generate.

    This is an instance where “redistribution of wealth” would serve some purpose?

    Rick Wehner
    December 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm

  2. Great comment, Rick!

    December 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm

  3. For a county that is supposed to be pro-individual rights, pro-business, and supportive of less government, we sure seem to have some elected officials who interpret those ideals differently than the rest of us.

    Laurens Hare
    December 17, 2012 at 2:15 pm

  4. It is refreshing to see enhanced coverage of county issues coming forth. Several years age, in the 2002-2003 time frame, an El Paso county commissioner, Tom Huffman – from the district currently served by Amy Lathen, and formerly by Betty Beedy – stated in open session: “I would say 98% of the people in my district do not know what a county commissioner is – what they do, or who their commissioner is”

    Which brings forth the question, if we did know more, would we vote differently? In this case, this current ‘board’ working to go against a vote of state and county voters on the use of recreational marijuana – is that same board that just stated they would like to pull the $20.00 gas vouchers from those job seekers going through the Pikes Peak Work Force Center who need gas money for job interviews!

    With 32,000 unemployed in the county – no real ‘primary’ jobs having been announced since the real economic director left (yes, some call center jobs) and local/national economist predicting a recession for 2013. it makes you wonder if we paid more attention to elected officials once elected – would we vote for them a second time? – if they are prone to with-holding $20.00 from one in need of a job as this constitutes some form of ‘wealth redistribution’? If I recall high school civics – it is those with jobs paying taxes that supports government – and pays Mrs. Lathen’s wages?

    Staci Lynne Holdt
    December 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm

  5. Well, marijuana is still illegal in the United States and Colorado is still in the United States. Just because a bunch of dopers want it so still doesn’t make it right, or legal.

    I do hope that El Paso County and Colorado Springs use their local discretion and ban all retail sales in the county and city. Yeah, won’t stop the dopers but it won’t be as readily available either. I can picture high schoolers sitting outside dope shops and asking somebody going in to by for them – just like they do at liquor stores.

    More tax revenues? At what price to our community? If the city and county would stop building more and more damn trails and spend the money on repairs we would be better served.

    Better yet, redirect all of the gambling money to infrastructure instead of building more parks. My gosh, how many parks and trails do we need. If people want more parks and trails then get their butts out of the city and go live in the country instead of being cooped in an apartment on top of each other in the city limits.

    Jocko James
    December 17, 2012 at 6:11 pm

  6. I find it ironic that the one comment that is opposing has horrible grammar! I guess you should have hung out with us “dopers” a little more. Maybe some intellect would have rubbed off.:)

    On a serious note this is about money. The cannabis supply has been pretty steady since the 1970sone and it’s not going anywhere any time soon. So, really this is merely a matter of where we want our money to go. Do we want to create hundreds of jobs and bring in billions or do we want to keep feeding the cartels and the violence that accompanies them? I believe the person above supports cartels! I support legalization and regulation!

    Stick Man
    December 17, 2012 at 7:38 pm

  7. The Federal Government is turning this back to voters to decide on a ‘state by state’ basis. Voters in Washington State and Colorado have spoken. Mrs.Lathen, again, has chosen not to listen to voters.

    The issue of ‘incoming revenue’ may not be as great as what is already being spent, at the county level, on ‘outgoing revenue’ in taxpayer dollars being spent to track down, apprehend, prosecute and house in the county jail – minor offenders? How many dollars is this, Dan?

    Staci Lynne Holdt
    December 18, 2012 at 8:30 am