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Friday, June 20, 2014

Gazette Premium Content Recreational marijuana question on Colorado Springs' November ballot sinks

By Monica Mendoza, The Gazette

Colorado Springs City Council president Keith King said putting a recreational marijuana question on the November ballot would cost too much.

He won’t support it.

“If we do it in April there would be no extra cost,” he said.

Council is set to discuss a proposed recreational marijuana ballot question at its work session Monday and is expected to decide the issue at its regular meeting Tuesday.

The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder said it could cost about $450,000 to $750,000 to put a question on the ballot. That money helps cover the cost of putting on an election, said Ryan Parcell, a county spokesman.

King sent his fellow council members an email this week saying it would cost too much. He said he sent the email in advance of the meeting because if a November ballot question is not viable — if the council does not have the five votes — the council should hold off on its discussion.

Council members Val Snider, Don Knight, Merv Bennett and Andy Pico already have said they are not interested in putting the question on the ballot. They prefer that citizens collect the 19,861 signatures and get it on the ballot themselves.

“I will not be moving to put it on the ballot,” Knight has said.

This month, Council member Jill Gaebler asked the city attorney to draft an ordinance that would ask voters if the city should regulate marijuana sales in the same way it regulates alcohol sales. She asked that the ordinance include language that if approved by voters, would direct the council to write rules and regulations by a certain date after the November election.

Last summer, the council voted 5-4 to ban recreational marijuana sales in the city.

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