Colorado Springs is one of the state's largest medical marijuana markets, and El Paso County, where it's located, voted in favor of Amendment 64, albeit by just ten votes.
Nevertheless, the Springs city council is likely to issue a de facto ban on recreational pot sales later today, with the deciding vote against allowing them likely to be cast by councilmember Don Knight. Continue to learn more about him and his rationale -- and to see a bizarre animated video in which he features.
The Colorado Springs City Council's recreational-marijuana vote is expected to take place during a meeting that kicks off at 1 p.m. today.
According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, four members of the council -- Keith King, Helen Collins, Jill Gaebler and Jan Martin -- either promised during their campaign or have publicly stated that they will vote in favor of regulating sales. In contrast, three -- Merv Bennett, Andy Pico and Joel Miller -- have previously said they oppose recreational sales. And Mayor Steve Bach has announced that he will veto regulations if given the chance -- and it takes a two-thirds majority of council, or six votes, to override a mayoral veto.
This math meant that Knight and fellow councilmember Val Snider both needed to vote for regulation in order for recreational pot to survive a Bach veto. But yesterday, Knight sent an e-mail to constituents explaining that he's decided to oppose regs. As quoted by the Colorado Springs Independent, the message reads in part:
To the Citizens of District 1, tomorrow I will vote to opt-out of recreational marijuana sales," he writes. "My first concern is whether opting-out, versus licensing sales, best keeps recreational marijuana away from minors....
Second, I weighed the proposed revenue from recreational sales against any unintended consequences to our two major economic drivers -- military and tourism. The loss of tens of millions of dollars from either would more than offset the $3.9 million in marijuana tax revenue Sensible Colorado Action predicts for Colorado Springs.
Finally, I took an oath to support both the constitutions of the United States and Colorado. Marijuana is still against Federal law....
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This move shouldn't come as a complete surprise. On Knight's campaign website, he described his position on Amendment 64 like so: "I voted against Amendment 64. After 26 years as an Air Force Officer, my core ethics do not support the recreational use of marijuana."
Knight added that "my ethics also taught me to respect all the laws of the land -- not just the ones I like." Hence, he was undecided about how best to move forward. But his indecision is now a thing of the past.
There's no guarantee today's council vote will take place as predicted -- something pro-sales councilwoman Gaebler emphasized in a recent tweet:
— Jill Gaebler (@jillgaebler) July 22, 2013
But by climbing off the fence, Knight is now in the position of unleashing a political pot storm in the Springs, making him an even greater focus of attention than he's attracted to date.
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He's already inspired the following clip, which imagines a mushroom-fueled meeting between him and council president King. Check it out below.
More from our Marijuana archive circa June: "Marijuana: Will recreational pot live or die in Colorado Springs?"