The Manitou Springs City Council passed a resolution Tuesday night that reaffirms the city’s existing limit of two recreational marijuana store licenses.
Earlier this year, the nonprofit Southern Colorado Cannabis Council suggested the city expand its number of licenses to help lower inflated prices at resort town's two stores. Maggie's Farm and Emerald Fields are currently the only recreational dispensaries in the greater Colorado Springs area, giving them the ability to set prices well above those in other cities. Colorado Springs itself only allows medical marijuana shops.
“The message is: we don't see the need for this,” Manitou Springs Mayor Ken Jaray said of the Tuesday resolution. “We're not hearing the feedback that there's a need for it, but this was just formalizing that sense.”
Southern Colorado Cannabis Council Executive Director Jason Warf complained the city passed the resolution without making any active effort to gauge public sentiment through polling or other means.
“They've told the citizens, ‘we don't care what your opinion is, we've already made up our mind on this,’" he said.
Warf said locals who want to see more recreational stores in Manitou Springs may do their own polling ahead of a possible attempt at putting a local initiative on the ballot.
The city has benefited from its monopoly on local recreational sales. The Urban Renewal Authority used to bring in an average of $34,000 a year before recreational marijuana. In 2016, its take climbed to $1.2 million. That money has allowed for projects like burying the city’s utility lines.
In nearby Colorado Springs, mayor John Suthers recently told CPR News that he doesn’t see his city legalizing recreational marijuana any time soon. “My thought is it’s still not culturally a fit, and more importantly that appears to be the view of the citizens of Colorado Springs,” Suthers said.