It’s been about a week or so since the Colorado Springs City Council voted to ban cannabis clubs within the city. The ban makes it impossible for any new clubs to open up and is expected to phase out existing clubs over the next eight years. Reasoning behind the ban was because of claims that clubs were illegally selling retail marijuana.
In reality, most cannabis clubs offer multiple benefits including free cannabis, sodas, and other drinks as well as snacks in exchange for a membership fee which goes to maintaining the club. While cannabis is a part of the package, club owners and members view it as a free gift – which is legal under Colorado state law – as a bonus along with the other freebies, in exchange for a club membership fee.
Right after the ban was voted in by city council, a Denver lawyer spoke of a potential lawsuit against the city for making that decision – but the clubs are also looking to take things a new direction. A group called People’s Social Alliance has already started the petitioning process, in order to challenge the ordinance that banned the clubs in the first place.
The group has until April 21st to gather a minimum of 14,694 valid signatures – if this goal is met then the city council would have no choice but to revote on the bill. The group is aiming to turn in a total of 35,000 signatures by the deadline to ensure that there are at least the minimum number of validated signatures.
Once the signatures are turned in the city would have 30 days to validate the signatures. If enough of the signatures are of registered voters then they will have to revisit the subject of the ban. At that point, if they were to uphold their original decision to enforce the ban they would have to put together a special election for the public to vote on the subject.
“I’m happy with them doing that,” he said (Keith King, councilman who voted in favor of the ban). “I think it’s an appropriate expression. And it will let them see how the public stands on it.”
According to City Clerk Sarah Johnson, putting together a special election could potentially cost the city up to $400,000 – which might be enough to convince lawmakers to forget the ban if enough signatures are gathered. If not, it would come down to public opinion, which could turn this into a very expensive attempt to ban cannabis clubs.