MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. - After a five hour meeting and more than 50 people speaking during public comment, the majority of Manitou Springs City Council decided to give the sale of recreational marijuana a chance.
Councilors Coreen Toll, Donna Ford, Randy Hodges and Michael Gerbig along with Mayor Marc Snyder voted to move forward with retail marijuana regulation.
"We are moving forward in preparing a licensing regulatory scheme...I will be pushing to regulate recreational marijuana to the maximum of what the law allow," Snyder said.
"When I go into a dispensary, I have cameras on me like you wouldn't believe, anybody who might go in with me without a medical marijuana license, what happens is they can't go past the front door," Ford said in reference to how to secure marijuana shops are with the merchandise.
Councilors Matt Carpenter and Gary Smith voted to put the sale of retail marijuana to a vote for next year's election.
"I am still struggling to see where it goes from here," Carpenter said.
"We don't have the resources to fully implement everything." Smith said.
This comes a week after Amendment 2A was passed which would put an additional five percent sales tax on the sale of recreational marijuana, on top of Amendment AA putting a 25 percent tax.
Public comment lasted more than two hours. People said they would go as far as leaving Manitou Springs if retail marijuana is allowed.
"I know that there are homeowners who have lived here for more than a decade that is seriously considering moving if this moves forward," Tim Haas said.
But Snyder feels the sale of recreational marijuana will in inevitable.
"You either find a way to get behind the majority or you can shut up and get out of the way," Snyder said.
People who support retail marijuana said it will benefit Manitou Springs.
"We can guide our new tourists into the right places and they'll come, smoke their weed and spend their money and everything will be great," Michael Burgess said.
Snyder said if there is a chance recreational marijuana isn't right for Manitou Springs he will take action.
"If (recreational marijuana does) become a problem, I will put out a petition to ban (recreational marijuana) in Manitou Springs," Snyder said.
Snyder said if council does allow recreational marijuana shops in Manitou Springs there won't be one open in Historic Downtown.