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People in Manitou Springs are split over the city's marijuana image

People in Manitou Springs are split over recreational pot

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. - People in Manitou Springs are excited that their city is the only place in El Paso County that can sell recreational marijuana, but others fear marijuana may ruin the city's reputation.

Manitou Springs has been through the Waldo Canyon fire and floods over the past two years. People in the city said these disasters kept visitors away.

Marijuana could be a make or break issue.

Manitou Springs City Council approved the sale of recreational pot, but not everyone is happy about it.

"My customer base is basically families, and that's who I want to appeal to," said Linda Reed, who owns a jewelry store.

She feels marijuana will smear Manitou Springs' image.

"People are going to know that they can come here, and we may have people drunk and high," Reed said.

"We've been called a hippy community. We've got bumper stickers that say keep Manitou weird," said Manitou Springs Councilman Kevin Mac Donald.

He voted for the sale of recreational pot.

Mac Donald feels marijuana is the future of Manitou Springs.

"Change is going to come. You're going to have to learn how to adapt to change," he said.

Manitou resident Keith Aherns feels Manitou Springs will have the strictest marijuana ordinance in the state.

Terms in the ordinance are as follows: Marijuana stores can't open before 8 a.m. or after 7 p.m., pot shops can't sell marijuana to people under 21, people can only buy marijuana once-a-day, and a pot shop can't open within 500 feet of a private or public school.

He said the city will have a new nickname since it sells recreational pot.

"Manitou is still the hippest town on Earth," he said.

Manitou Springs has capped the amount of recreational marijuana stores at two.

There is a group of people, who are starting a petition in February to put the sale of recreational marijuana on the ballot in November.

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