COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - After seven meeting and much discussion, the Marijuana Task Force in Colorado Springs finally declared itself ready Monday to pass its marijuana law recommendations to the City Council for final consideration.
The task force had hoped one of its previous two meetings would be its last. However, because of several unresolved issues, the group plans to continue meeting occasionally and gradually address those issues.
"We can give the City Council our recommendations and still deal with the other issues as we can," said Bret Waters, the city's deputy chief of staff and a task force member.
In its previous meeting, the group was unable to agree on several important matters regarding safety, regulation, licensing and enforcement of marijuana businesses and practices.
The City Council plans to begin considering the recommendations next Monday, with a first vote scheduled for the last week in April.
Among the recommendations: a limit of 12 marijuana plants per household; requiring ventilation systems to control odors; determining whether marijuana oil extraction is hazardous and zoned appropriately; and establishing business hours between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Some of the issues remaining unresolved: how utilities should be used in growing marijuana in homes; what fees to charge businesses; and advertising guidelines.
"We've seen in some stores where if you buy smoking paraphernalia, you get free marijuana," Waters said. "That's creative but we're not sure it's legal."
Tom Scudder, a task force member, said he'd like to reduce the number of existing medical marijuana dispensaries by half.
"The city has 135 now," he said. "And there are dozens waiting to apply once our moratorium ends this spring. You have sort of a distorted free market here. Colorado is the best place in the world to go, to get into this industry, to learn this industry. As a result of that, a lot of people come here who would not normally come here to open that kind of business."
Two residents said they support the task force's efforts.
"We're all in favor of trying to put better controls on this," said Pat DeJong.
Chris Frampton agrees.
"Someone needs to make sure that people are safe and protected from those who don't do things the right way," he said.