Manitou Springs, Colorado is a quiet mountain town at the base of a fourteen-thousand-one-hundred-fifteen foot mountain known as Pikes Peak. It is, also, the only city within El Paso County that permits recreational marijuana sales. A peaceful demonstration in favor of keeping retail marijuana in the city was thwarted by police over the weekend with both sides stating different reasons for ending the rally.
The retail sale of marijuana to adults aged twenty-one years and older has been permitted in the city of Manitou Springs since January 21, 2014 when the city council voted in favor of it. In July, a petition was turned into the city clerk’s office containing four-hundred-sixty-five valid signatures in favor of eliminating recreational marijuana sales from the city. Only two-hundred-seventy-five signatures were required to put an amendment on the election ballot in November.
This amendment, 2G, threatens to eliminate recreational sales from the city, and those opposed want to raise awareness to vote no on 2G. Voting yes to the amendment will end recreational marijuana sales.
To raise awareness, a rally was held over the weekend to educate voters. Event organizers claim that law enforcement officers shut down the event shortly after it began. A police representative says that was not the case. According to Odette Saglimbeni with the Manitou Springs Police Department, only the food vendors at the event were shut down, not the event itself. She told KRDO13 that event organizers did get a permit for the event, but they neglected to file permits for food vendors.
The rally organizers are furious because they were under the impression that they filed all permits necessary for a successful event. Even councilman Sarge MacDonald was confident that they had all necessary paperwork. During event coverage Saturday, he told KRDO13,
“I don’t care either way. I always tell every citizen vote your conscience, vote your belief, just get out there and vote. But, I support these people because they wanted to put on this event. I escorted them to city, and they did everything they were told to do by every department. This is a big fiasco right now.”
Because of this confusion, some think that law enforcement representatives who want to stop recreational marijuana sales in the city may have shut down the rally to prevent the advocates words from reaching the ears of voters, or that event organizers were purposefully lead astray, in terms of filing paperwork, in the first place.
photo credit: walk2connect