Colorado Springs orders 9 cannabis clubs to “cease and desist”
Colorado Springs Gazette - 09/20/2016
Nine Colorado Springs cannabis consumption clubs received cease-and-desist letters from the City Clerk’s Office last week in the first crackdown under a ban on the clubs enacted by the City Council on March 22.
The clubs sprang up after Amendment 64 was passed in 2012 legalizing adult use and sales of recreational marijuana but banning public consumption. The clubs gave people a place to use cannabis and socialize in private.
Colorado Springs outlawed sales of recreational marijuana in the city, but the clubs got around the ban by providing pot to their patrons on a “reimbursement model:” they could either “trade” cannabis for memberships or sign affidavits saying the club was growing the customer’s legally allowed six marijuana plants for them. Although city officials view such actions as de facto sales, the practice has continued. The ban passed in March, however, says the clubs cannot sell, trade, give, distribute or allow the transfer of marijuana.
The ban gave clubs that existed before Sept. 23, 2015, eight years to phase out their businesses, an effort to help the owners protect their investment. But under the law, every owner had to submit a consumption club application and $200 fee by April 29 to get a one-year renewable license for $90 plus registration fees. Only five clubs applied by the deadline. One was approved, two are under consideration and two were denied.
The denied clubs, along with seven other identified clubs that did not apply for licensing, have been ordered to close because they are not licensed, as required.