Published: January 28, 2014
Ordinance won't change much
Paul Guivens' comments about Manitou Springs are misleading. It's still illegal to smoke marijuana in public, so the chances of "walking into an exhaled cloud... from a group of folks on the street" aren't much higher than they were before the ordinance being passed. Also, testing positive for marijuana after inhaling second- hand smoke would be highly unlikely.
According to The Gazette's article on the subject, only two shops will be allowed and neither of those may be in the downtown area. It's Manitou - is anyone really shocked that the sale of recreational marijuana in the city was approved?
Julie McGuire, Colorado Springs
Smoking marijuana is bad for you
I don't understand why people on both sides of the question of licensing recreational pot shops are making such a big deal out of it. Nothing will change from the way things have been in Manitou for the past 45 years. Back in the 1960s and '70s, heyday of the hippie, pot in Manitou was readily available as were head shops (remember Mushroom Monday?) in the Manitou business district. The smell of burning weed was everywhere. That didn't keep tourists from coming to Manitou to patronize shops and restaurants. Nothing has changed now except that pot smokers are more discreet and parking is more difficult. If Sue Gordon wants to quit going out to enjoy Manitou, it is her loss.
That being said, I don't approve of recreational pot because it is bad for your health to smoke it. Beverly Brown's argument rings empty when she says, "What harm am I doing by choosing a safer alternative to alcohol to enjoy responsibly in my own home." First, I feel sorry for her lack of self-respect in seeing a need to get high. Secondly, calling it a "safer alternative" is not the same as safe. She thinks that the fact that smoking marijuana is bad for you is only government propaganda. In fact, the more than 50 years of scientific research has shown that smoking marijuana not only harms lungs, but can cause permanent brain damage affecting memory loss. That same scientific research has discovered beneficial uses for cannabis derivatives, but smoking it isn't one of them.
Joe Thompson, Colorado Springs
More to Manitou than hippies
I have some questions for Dave Hughes and have even supplied the answers:
Isn't Manitou historic? We were historic long before we were designated a National Historic District. I could ramble on for a long time about our history, but it is all available online.
What does Manitou have to offer? Let me count the ways. We have restaurants where you can get bodacious hamburgers or some very fine dining. There are shops where fine artists sell their fine art as well as those that have tourist stuff.
We have a Carnegie library. One of the best school districts in the state.
Our volunteer fire department was right there with the others in the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires. And after the floods that were a result of the Waldo Canyon fire, our citizens put out an amazingly valiant effort to clean up a horrible mess. Any interactions that I have had with our police department have all been very positive and professional. And, of course, our mineral springs.
Is Manitou weird and funky? Are we ever! There are the Emma Crawford Races, Carnivale, Clayfest and of late, the Fruitcake Toss. Where else could you find a town that would allow people to line up an eclectic bunch of chairs from one end of town to the other?
Does Manitou have hippies? We've always had hippies - so what? The nonhippies outnumber them anyway.
What about Old Colorado City? It's a wonderful place. I love it. My family grew up there, only back then we called it The West Side.
Am I happy about the pot shops? Absolutely not. The City Council of Manitou Springs should have let the people decide what they wanted in a vote instead of acting like a bunch of dictators.
I think it's very sad, Dave, that the only thing you can remember about Manitou is its aging hippies.
Sally Pearce, Manitou Springs
Disregarding the vote of the people
Our El Paso County Commissioners, the Colorado Springs City Council and The Gazette seem to think we are living in a dictatorship. I have lived in Colorado Springs for over a half century and I thought Amendment 2 was a travesty. And it was! However, our elected officials have matched the stupidity of Amendment 2 with disregarding the will of the voters and banning recreational marijuana sales in Colorado Springs and unincorporated El Paso County. What were they thinking?
Sounds like our elected officials really don't care about our voting rights. Regardless of your position on the recreational marijuana issue, (Amendment 64 passed in Colorado Springs by almost 5,000 votes and El Paso County by 10 votes) I'd be really surprised if anyone who believes in our voting rights would agree with the dictatorial actions of our elected, yes elected, officials in Colorado Springs.
I can't believe the lame excuses our comrades are using to justify their reasoning for banning recreational marijuana sales and disregarding the vote of the people. Jobs would be lost because marijuana would be more accessible to the work force? Are you blind? It's already accessible. Those who have employment that would be terminated because of cannabis use are probably not using cannabis. We have spent over 1 trillion dollars since 1971 on the "War on Drugs. One trillion dollars trying to control a black market projected at 10 billion dollars a year. We have wrecked hundreds of thousands of lives by incarcerating our citizens for marijuana possession.
If it takes another vote for legalizing the sale of recreational marijuana in unincorporated El Paso County and the City of Colorado Springs to validate the vote of the people, then so be it. What we have been doing for the past 50 years obviously isn't working.
Newell Ledbetter, Colorado Springs