Nine cannabis clubs in Colorado Springs have received cease-and-desist letters from the City Clerk’s Office despite having no issues with neighbors or law enforcement, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette report. Many of the clubs have been in business since 2012 — after Amendment 64 passed — but were banned by the City Council in March.
Although recreational sales are banned in the city, the clubs provided products using a “reimbursement model” by which cannabis was traded for memberships or members could sign affidavits saying the club was growing the customer’s six marijuana plants allowed under the law for them. The March measure outlawed all trade and transfer of marijuana, but allowed clubs that existed before Sept. 23, 2015 eight years to phase out the businesses — provided that the owner submitted a $200 fee and consumption club application by April 29, and obtained a one-year renewable license for $90 plus registration fees.
Just five clubs applied by the deadline, but only one has been approved for the annual licensing which can be renewed for the eight-year term. Two other applications are being considered, and two more were denied. The two clubs denied applications, along with seven other clubs that did not apply to licenses, were the clubs ordered to close. On Sept. 9, El Paso County District Court granted the city a temporary restraining order against the clubs, which prompted the letters.
Jason Warf, executive director of the Southern Colorado Cannabis Council, said the clubs provide a “safe, private place” for tourists to use legal cannabis.
“This comes after years of these clubs operating without incident. While it has taken some time to get it right, we now have legislation (permitting cannabis clubs) set to be introduced at the state level in January,” Warf said in the report. “Our goal would be that the City of Colorado Springs follow this lead and enact regulations that coincide with the efforts at the state level.”
Colorado Springs Police spokesman Lt. Howard Black confirmed that the businesses have been good neighbors in the community and no violent crimes have occurred on any of the premises.
“There’s been nothing we’ve been engaged with,” he said.
Some of the clubs are scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, where they plan on contesting the constitutionality of the ban.