Palmer Lake votes to ban recreational marijuana sales

COLORADO: Saying they didn’t want their small, family-friendly town to become the Amsterdam of El Paso County, the Palmer Lake Town Council joined neighboring communities and banned retail marijuana sales.

In a 4-1 vote Thursday, the council approved an ordinance that bans the sale of marijuana for recreational use.

Restaurant owner Mike Elliott said by banning retail marijuana sales, the town was missing out on sales tax revenue that it desperately needed.

“I don’t think it would be wise to opt out of a revenue source,” Elliott said.

But council member Mike Patrizi said he would rather the town go broke than take a dime for pot sales.

The council’s vote to ban marijuana sales for recreational use was met with a mix of applause and loud boos. Residents seemed evenly divided on the issue. Of the 31 speakers, 15 favored regulating the sale of marijuana the way that alcohol is regulated while 16 residents said they didn’t want anything to do with recreational pot sales.

Those against retail marijuana sales said the image of the small, quaint town would be tarnished. Instead of visitors coming to Palmer Lake for restaurants and shops they would be coming for drugs.

“We would be eaten up with crime,” said resident Michael Tucker.

Council member Michael Maddox said he enjoyed his pot-smoking days in the 1960s. He even wrote a book, “Peace Freak,” but he said pot has changed. It’s more potent and he didn’t want the heartache such hard drugs would bring to the small town, population 2,200.

Even Amsterdam officials were recently quoted in newspapers with concerns over pot potency, he said.

“The research shows we cannot tolerate and cannot have it in our community,” he said.

Palmer Lake, 20 miles north of Colorado Springs and neighbor to Monument, joins about 50 municipalities across the state that have banned retail marijuana sales despite voters approving Amendment 64, which allows adults over 21 to possess up to 1 ounce of pot for recreational use and allows cities to set rules and regulations for retail pot sales and stores.

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