A surprising petition has surfaced in Pueblo, Colorado this week – and if it gathers enough signatures and passes a vote in November, then it would effectively put an end to the marijuana market in the county.
This news seems sudden for a county which has experienced a large amount of growth since the 2012 ballot initiative passed to legalize marijuana in the state of Colorado. While the city of Pueblo has already banned marijuana shops, the county itself is home to dozens of cultivation sites, testing facilities and dispensaries, which have provided jobs to hundreds, if not thousands of people.
While Denver and Colorado Springs fight to bring cannabis clubs to the mainstream, Pueblo is still fighting to keep the rights they originally voted for going on four years ago. The group behind the petition is called Pueblo for Positive Impact – and the initiative was filed by Dan Oldenburg (a Pueblo attorney) and Kenny Gierhart (owner of a tree company).
The initiative aims to stop licensing businesses by November 8th of this year and would put existing businesses out of business by November 2017. As soon as word about the petition came about, a statement was promptly issued by the Pueblo County Board of Commissioners.
“This latest ballot initiative would close retail marijuana establishments, not prohibit the consumption of marijuana. If passed, Pueblo residents would be forced to purchase from the black market for a legal product…
“…I’m saddened that a vocal minority is willing to tear apart our community when the voters of Pueblo have already spoken loud and clear. The result will be the same…again… except the community will be divided unnecessarily for the next seven months,” Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace said in a prepared statement. “The folks running the measure need to explain to the hundreds of people working in Pueblo’s cannabis, construction and real-estate industries how they will put food on the table if this measure is successful.”
Considering the growth of the economy and the potential the cannabis industry holds for Pueblo, (High Times wanted to hold the Cannabis Cup there, think of potential tourist revenue, Pueblo!) it is great to see so much support for the industry, even when those with a pointlessly negative opinion are choosing to try and put it to an end.
In the 2012 election, Pueblo showed 55% support for the initiative to legalize marijuana, leading to the creation of this industry. Honestly, it would be surprising for the public opinion to have shifted towards opposition by such a margin considering all the different ways that the industry has helped Pueblo grow – chances are this ballot initiative doesn’t have a chance, but that is up to the citizens to ensure.