Nine cannabis consumption clubs in Colorado Springs have just received cease-and-desist letters from the City Clerk’s Office last week. This is the first crackdown on such groups under a new City Council ban went into effect March 22.
Obviously, these recreational clubs began to spring up after Amendment 64 was ratified in 2012 to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana—and the associated use, of course—for private consumption. Clubs such as these, then, gave people a social—but private—place to use the recreational drug.
Now, this is a complicated matter, of course, because Colorado Springs outlawed the sale of recreational marijuana within city limits. These clubs, though, acted as a bit of a workaround these laws since they operated on a “reimbursement model” and not a “retail model.” Basically, the clubs allowed “members” to “trade” cannabis for membership or sign an affidavit that says the club grew their marijuana legally-allowed six plants for them.
The bans passed in March, making it now illegal for the clubs to not only sell, of course, but also to trade, give, distribute, and otherwise allow any kind of transfer of marijuana within the club. The ban did allow, however, that the clubs which existed before September 23, 2015 eight years to phase out their business efforts. This, of course, would help business owners to protect their investment and reinvest their assets as appropriate.
By law, though, every owner had to submit a consumption club application—and an application fee of $200—by April 29 in order to get a one-year renewable license and $90 in registration fees. However, only five clubs actually applied by the deadline and only one was approved for the annual license.
Still, Southern Colorado Cannabis Council executive director Jason Warf explains that the cease and desist orders actually came as a big surprise.
He says, “This comes after years of these clubs operating without incident . While it has taken some time to get it right, we now have legislation set to be introduced at the state level in January (to allow the clubs to essentially operate like medical marijuana dispensaries). 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.”
He also makes sure to note that the clubs have all been responsible, reputable businesses and actually provide a quality public service.