Nearly two dozen medical marijuana dispensaries have sprouted up in the college town of Fort Collins, Colo., since 2009. Now, a group of citizens is attempting to turn back the clock to the days when marijuana wasn’t openly sold from storefronts.
Organizers behind a proposal to ban dispensaries – as well as companies that make marijuana-infused products and operations that grow medical pot – gathered enough signatures to move the issue forward this week. According to the Coloradoan, backers of the petition – who have formed a group called Concerned Fort Collins Citizens- are hoping to force a vote, believing the majority of the local populace is opposed to the industry. Police officials say there’s been a 20 percent increase in weed-related crimes in Fort Collins since dispensaries started popping up and that the industry has eroded the quality of life.
The Fort Collins City Council can now adopt the measure as it stands or send it to voters.
This is the downside of leaving laws up to individual cities, as it can create an uneven patchwork across the state. Several other communities in the state have voted to ban dispensaries, forcing owners to shutter their stores. If Fort Collins follow the same path, 21 dispensaries will go out of business, sapping the city of half a million dollars in annual tax money and leading to 200 or so layoffs. Just as significantly, it will be a continuation of a recent backlash in Colorado over an industry that popped up literally overnight.