Group says voters need to decide on pot sales

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Some Palmer Lake residents are not happy by the Town Council vote earlier this month to ban sales of marijuana for recreational use, and they plan to do something about it.

According to Jim Adams, on Aug. 12, a group of Palmer Lake citizens filed a letter of intent to repeal the ordinance. The town clerk, Tara Berreth, received the letter that seeks to circulate a petition to overturn the council’s 4-1 vote on Aug. 8.

“I’m just a normal citizen,” Adams said. “I want to be treated the same as anyone else who buys Budweiser. Men and women like me just want to go to the corner store and buy our 1/8 ounce of marijuana and go back to our house and smoke our pot. We don’t want to be bothered and we don’t want to bother anyone.”

Amendment 64 was passed by Colorado voters in last November’s general election. It was a ballot measure to amend the state constitution, outlining a statewide drug policy for cannabis.

The amendment makes the personal use, possession and limited home growing of marijuana legal for adults 21and older. It establishes a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

While El Paso County as a whole voted against the amendment, Palmer Lake residents passed the vote by about 55 to 45 percent margin, according to statistics kept by the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Office.

Some Palmer Lake council members who voted to ban the sales said they didn’t want their family-friendly town to become the Amsterdam of El Paso County.

On July 2, town attorney Larry Gaddis and Berreth said the town must opt in or out of local retail sales of recreational marijuana by Oct. 1. The town would then lose any capacity to receive tax revenues from the sale of recreational marijuana if it opts out.

“The opt out is not part of the state constitution,” Adams said. “This amendment passed. It’s real. We live here. We’re going to continue to buy pot forever.”

Neighboring cities and counties in the state have banned marijuana sales for recreational use. They cited that they were worried about being overrun with a drug-using element.

Adams and his group who favor the sale of marijuana for recreational use want to circulate a petition to get a question on the April ballot asking the town’s voters to overturn the ordinance. As of late last Friday, Adams said they were still waiting on the town clerk, Berreth, to tell them how many signatures they need to get the issue on the ballot.

Adams was concerned that the deadline might have passed to gather the needed signatures - he did not know how many signatures were required - to get it on the April ballot.

“If that’s the case, then one of the next steps we’ll take is to recall all of (the council members) who voted on the ban,” Adams said. “It doesn’t matter if they were elected or not.

“Some of these (council members) are snake oil salesmen. They are so hypocritical.”

Adams added that his group will likely push to repeal the long-standing Palmer Lake ordinance that allows the sale of alcohol.