Manitou Springs extends marijuana sales moratorium while working on ordinance

By Lisa Walton, lisa.walton@gazette.com - Updated: December 11, 2013 at 10:41 am • Published: December 11, 2013 | 10:15 am 0

The Manitou Springs City Council voted Tuesday night to extend the existing moratorium on retail recreational marijuana sales in the city to Jan. 31.

Mayor Marc Snyder said the extension allows for additional time to draft and finalize regulations for retail pot shops. He hopes that a draft ordinance will be ready in early January. Tuesday's vote was unanimous, 6-0, with councilwoman Donna Ford absent.

The proposed ordinance would cap the limit of retail shops to two, and mandates that they can only be located in commercial districts. The city has two licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, and Snyder said they will be considered first for retail recreational pot shop licenses.

The mayor said that capping the number at two would allow some free market competition while also preventing the city from becoming overrun with pot shops.

Though several residents have urged the council to opt out of recreational pot sales, including a group that's starting a petition for a ballot measure in November, Snyder says that the city's residents have shown strong support for recreational marijuana.

"Everytime we've had any type of a vote related to marijuana and cannabis it seems to have a pretty strong two to one majority in favor," he said.

Had the council not opted in, he said, the city would have likely faced a citizen petition for a special election calling for sales of recreational marijuana. While Synder is not an enthusiastic supporter of recreational pot sales in Manitou, he said he's weighed all sides of the arugment, and wants to uphold the will of the people without compromising the city's values.

"I think of all the different alternatives, this one is the best," he said.

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