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Councilman seeks support in stand against cannabis clubs; vote is March 8

By Don Knight, Colorado Springs City Councilmember

       A military veteran and defense industry employee, Don Knight represents District 1, which covers the city's northwest area. This includes the Westside roughly north of Uintah Street and (west of 31st) the streets north of Colorado Avenue.

      
City Councilmember Don Knight.
Courtesy photo
At 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8, City Council will be voting whether to ban new marijuana consumption clubs and close existing clubs within five years. The alternative vote is to only allow new clubs in industrial zones with existing clubs able to stay where they are.
       I support banning. When council first voted to allow clubs in April 2014, the winning argument was these clubs provided a civic value as a meeting place to paint, read their poetry aloud, etc. Smoking marijuana was an ancillary reason people came there. Nor did the clubs sell marijuana - people brought their own.
       However, the 14 other clubs that have opened (and even the original club, now under new ownership) all carry marijuana, which they provide on a “reimbursement” model as a loophole, and an affront, to the city, which has opted out of allowing recreational marijuana sales as was our Constitutional right under Amendment 64.
       While we could fix this loophole without banning clubs, the Planning Commission voted for the ban, as there is no one single zone, or sets of zones, within the city where such clubs would not be an issue.
       If you are of a similar mind, I need your help, as the vote promises to be very close. Part of the reason council approved clubs in 2014 was 28 people spoke during citizen comments in favor of the club. No citizen spoke against it. At a hearing last Tuesday night (Feb. 23), only one citizen spoke in favor of the ban while more than 30 spoke in favor - some of these from Denver.
       While I've received one-on-one e-mails and phone calls against the clubs, the other eight members of council also need to hear your voice. So please come to City Council on March 8 and let your voices be heard. If you cannot make the meeting, please send e-mails to allcouncil@springsgov.com.
       Remaining silent will only ensure that marijuana consumption clubs will continue to foster in our city that prides itself on our support to the military and the Olympics.

(Posted 2/28/16; Opinion: Guest Columns)

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