11:15am

Tue July 19, 2011
Local

Group Petitions to Ban Medical Marijuana in Fort Collins

Fort Collins could be joining scores of other Colorado cities and counties this November that have banned medical marijuana dispensaries.

The group, Concerned Fort Collins Citizens, is petitioning against dispensaries in the city. Today it’s handing over more than 4,000 signatures in an attempt to get the ban in front of voters this fall.

“All we’re saying is give people the right to vote whether they want the storefront or not, which they never initially had the right to do,” said Ray Martinez, former mayor of Fort Collins, and a member of the group.

Martinez and others say they’re worried about how dispensaries are impacting community safety as well as youth drug abuse. These worries have recruited TEAM Fort Collins as well as Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith to back the proposal.

But medical marijuana dispensary owners say that banning the centers could create more problems, pushing the medical marijuana business underground.

“There are so many people who don’t understand the real issues behind medical marijuana. There’s the perception of reefer madness that it’s different from prescription drugs or alcohol in our city,” said David Schwaab, co-owner of the Fort Collins dispensary Abundant Healing.

Schwaab says that medical marijuana centers are the most controlled and regulated way to deliver medical marijuana.

After the city of Fort Collins verifies the petition signatures, city council could either adopt an ordinance to ban the shops or refer the topic to voters in November.