Unsure about medical marijuana store? Call Code Enforcement

       Certificated marijuana dispensaries for patients seeking pain relief have been deemed legal under a state constitutional amendment; however, citizens concerned about that right being abused in Colorado Springs can call city Code Enforcement, according to Colorado Springs City Manager Penny Culbreth-Graft.
       Graft provided this information at the City Council meeting Jan. 25, in response to a question from City Councilmember Scott Hente, who said he's “gotten about a zillion complaints about a dispensary that's opened in my district.”
       Hente represents District 1, which includes the northern part of the Westside. He did not give the name of the dispensary in question.
       The Code Enforcement number is 444-7890.
       After signals from the federal government last year that it was no longer prosecuting the use of marijuana for medical reasons, numerous dispensaries have appeared in recent months, including several on the Westside (making it one of the region's few “growth industries” in a weak economy).
       Such enterprises are allowed under Colorado's Amendment 20, which took effect in 1999.
       An example is the recently opened Westside Wellness Center, 2200 Bott Ave. Under the law, the family-owned business is a certified care-giver and as such can grow up to six plants and provide small amounts of marijuana to their patients. The business contracts with a doctor who can authorize marijuana for individuals seeking pain relief after seeing them by appointment, according to co-owner Joanne Goodner. Typical patients are dealing with arthritis, cancer and other debilitating diseases, she said.
       Goodner said she is aware that some medical marijuana businesses are not as well run as others. “In the long run, people who open up just to have a dispensary will get weaned out,” she said.
       Graft noted that her office is working with city staff and a task force that includes people in the medical marijuana industry. The plan is to come back to council with a draft city ordinance in February.
       City Councilmember Tom Gallagher, who has been working with the task force, said at the council meeting that the draft still needs work, but found it “really surprising” how carefully the dispensary owners on the task force are looking at the situation. “It's definitely not the work product you'd expect from a bunch of potheads,” Gallagher said. “It's pretty encompassing.”
       Also at this time, the Colorado Legislature is beginning to hold hearings on how to govern medical marijuana at the state level.

Westside Pioneer/press release