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Medical Marijuana Group Seeks to Repeal Fort Collins Dispensary Ban

Infinite Wellnes and 19 other dispensaries closed in Fort Collins on Feb. 14 due to a voter-approved ban.

An alliance of former dispensary owners, employees and medical marijuana patients will start gathering signatures tomorrow in an attempt to repeal a ban passed by Fort Collins voters in November.

“With the upcoming presidential election, which traditionally has a much higher turnout of voters, we hope this will give more citizens the opportunity to vote,” says Kirk Scramstad, who owned part of the former Fort Collins dispensary, A Kind Place. “With more people voting on it, we hope it will come out in our favor.”

Last November 52 percent of Fort Collins voters approved Question 300. That’s compared to a 48 percent minority.

United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 7 was working to organize Fort Collins dispensaries last fall, and had about 8 shops that had established membership before the ban was passed. UFCW Local 7 is lending some behind-the-scenes support to the effort.

“There are a lot of people in Fort Collins who want to see the ban reversed,” says Mark Belkin, director of community affairs and organizing for the UFCW Local 7. “What did the ban accomplish? Now we have a medical cannabis industry in Fort Collins that’s not regulated, not controlled and not taxed.”

The group, Concerned Fort Collins Citizens, championed the ban last fall, raising concerns about how the growing medical marijuana dispensary industry was affecting crime and youth drug use. The ban went into effect on Feb. 14, when about 20 shops went out of business.

So far, 2012 is shaping up to be a big year for marijuana. Statewide Colorado voters will see Amendment 64, which seeks to regulate marijuana like alcohol. A second marijuana question may also be on the statewide ballot.

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