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Business owners happy, disappointed with Manitou's pot vote

Business owners happy, disappointed with Manitou's pot vote

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. - Manitou Springs businesses had mixed reaction Wednesday to its City Council's vote to allow recreational marijuana sales in its city.

There are two recreational pot shop licenses up for grabs in Manitou Springs. At least one medical marijuana company has already said it wants to get its hands on one.  This comes after City Council's 6-1 vote in favor of recreational pot sales at a meeting Tuesday night.

Maggie's Farm purchased property on Manitou Avenue near US Highway 24. The medical marijuana company has three locations -- two in Colorado Springs and one in Cañon City.  Its owner hopes to open its first retail marijuana location in Manitou Springs if its granted one of the two permits available.

Manitou Pancake and Steak House is down the street from the potential pot shop. Its owner Luis Freyre is not surprised by City Council's decision and he thinks it's a good one.

The restaurant opened its doors 50 years ago. He's retiring and closing the restaurant Sunday but said other restaurants in town will see new customers with bigger appetites.

"I think it will bring people in," said Freyre. "They (marijuana users) get high, they get hungry so it will be good for the restaurant business."

He expects cities across the nation to follow Manitou Springs' lead.  He said the decision will help the city's economy.

"I think we will see more younger tourists," said Freyre. "I think it will be good for the city."

Three business owners ON Manitou Avenue disagree. They were not thrilled about City Council's decision. However, they did not want their businesses to be identified because they said its a divisive issue and they didn't want to lose customers.

Manitou Springs Mayor Marc Snyder said recreational pot shops will not be allowed in the city's historic downtown. Still, opponents said they will launch an effort next month to put a decision on retail pot up for a vote in November so see if people really want the shops.

"We are going to begin gathering signatures Feb. 1," said retail marijuana opponent Tim Haas, "There is a fairly small number (of signatures) required but we are going to exceed that number by quite a bit."

Pot shops that are granted a license cannot open before 8 a.m. or stay open past 7 p.m. People will only be able to buy retail marijuana once a day. Also, the shops can't open within 500 feet of any school.


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