Amid some controversy, Longmont, Colorado is lifting their longstanding ban on medical and recreational cannabis within city limits. The town council initially voted 5-2 for preliminary approval of the ordinance, which will allow up to four dispensaries to open within city limits. After a rigorous public hearing with serious dissent, the council voted a mere 4-3 to pass the ordinance, which comes before a vote on whether or not to tax marijuana sales in the city.
More than a few seem to take issue with the new ordinance. “You are, in effect, allowing the Mexican cartels to set up shop in our community,” resident Briand Governson said during the public hearing. He suggested that the city was enacting the ordinance because they were desperate for tax revenue, and complained that Denver “…neighborhoods have changed” since the advent of legal adult-use cannabis, adding: “They’re unsafe.”
Governson isn’t the only one with concerns. Roger Lange, a former mayor and councilman who will be in the running for mayorship in November’s election, stressed that the ordinance should wait until after voters in the city could address a city measure that would impose a special 3 percent tax on marijuana and marijuana products sold within the city. “You’re putting the cart before the horse,” said Lange during the public hearing.
Councilman Brian Bagley, who will be running against Lange for the mayorship, was one of the three dissenting votes. His argument is that products are already available near Longmont, so there’s no need to sales within city limits, suggesting that the presence of cannabis industry within the city “is going to hurt our kids.”
Joan Peck, one of the council members in support of the ordinance, pointed out that votes within the city during the statewide elections that approved recreational cannabis were largely in favor, and that city’s own survey in 2016 came to the same conclusion. “You have said with your votes what you want us to do.”