CO: City Issues Cease And Desist Order To Cannabis Clubs

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Colorado Springs – From 8 more years of business to an immediate shutdown.

That’s the message some cannabis clubs recently got from the City of Colorado Springs.

As we’ve reported, city council voted this summer to ban new clubs and force existing clubs to shut down in 8 years, but we’ve learned some of them recently got a cease and desist order.

The order is based on some new licenses. The city set a new rule requiring all existing clubs to be licensed.

A representative for Studio A-64 said they’re ok with the idea of getting the license, the problem is all the requirements to get one.

“We’re a little in the dark as to why now. Our clubs have been in operation, some for over 3 years,” said Jason Warf, with the Southern Colorado Cannabis Council.

Adding to the confusion the Speak Easy’s application was approved, but others like A-64’s were denied.

“The Speak Easy is doing nothing different than any other club. So its really baffling to our organization to why this would happen,” said Warf.

Beyond that, he said the hoops you have to jump through to get that license would change their whole operation.

“You couldn’t even have cannabis to on site let alone gift it, or share among patrons,” said Warf. He went on to say, “I don’t know how any club could operate under those terms.”

News that didn’t go over well with customers.

“Its not fair. They have 8 years to continue operating and then they throw something else on top of it. Its not right,” said Anthony Beenken.

Some customers are already fearing the worst if the clubs get shut down.

“I’d probably be facing tickets every day because I’d be sitting outside smoking,” said Beenken.

But Warf said they’re not backing down.

“We have no plans of closing the doors. We’re appealing the cease and desist and through that process we plan to continue to serve our patrons and our members,” said Warf.

As for the city, we asked for an interview on Friday when the Speak Easy got its license, but they refused. We asked again Monday, when the other clubs spoke up about their denial and the city yet again refused to make someone available for an interview citing pending litigation issues.

The city did provide this statement…

In March, City Council adopted an ordinance that requires all marijuana consumption clubs (MCCs) as defined by the ordinance, operating within the City of Colorado Springs as of April 4, 2016 to be licensed, with licenses to be renewed annually thereafter. The ordinance prohibited the establishment of new clubs after September 22, 2015. Pending litigation does not impact enforcement of the ordinances regarding marijuana consumption clubs.

Five marijuana consumptions clubs submitted applications for licenses to the City by the April 29, 2016 deadline. Of these, one application was approved, two were denied and two are still undergoing the license process. The two businesses that were denied licenses were issued notices to cease and desist operations. Under the City Code, applicants who have been denied a license have the right to appeal the decision within ten days.

Approved for MMC license: SPEAK EASY, LLC dba Speakeasy Vape Lounge and Cannabis Club
Denied for MMC license: GCS Enterprises, LLC dba Studio A64
Unicol Enterprise, LLC dba Been Here Before CO

Separately, the City Clerk has notified seven businesses that were believed to be operating as marijuana consumption clubs, and that did not apply for a license by the April 29, 2016 deadline, that they must cease any marijuana club operations.

On August 31, 2016 the City of Colorado Springs filed an action in the El Paso County District Court against several marijuana clubs who had not applied for licenses, and alleging they had been engaged in the retail sale of marijuana in violation of City ordinance. On September 9, 2016, the El Paso County District Court granted the City’s Motion for Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against these clubs. The Court ruled that the named Defendants (Dab Lounge, One Love Club, Canna Canon, Springs Dreams, My Club 420, Club History, the Lazy Lion, and their respective operators/managers) were, until further order of the Court, prohibited from allowing the consumption of any marijuana on their premises, selling any marijuana, and transferring marijuana for remuneration of any kind. The Motion is attached.

Because of the hearing process available to license applicants who have been denied a license, as well as pending litigation, the City Clerk is unavailable for further comment on these matters.

Still we had questions about the additional requirements and the city spokesperson gave us some brief responses late in the day.

Question – Why are they being forced to change when they were supposed to be allowed to operate for another 8 years?

City Response – The regulations for operating a marijuana consumption club were outlined in the city ordinance that Council’ passed in March.

Question – Why did Speak Easy get approved and the others denied?

City Response – The two applicants that were denied a license were determined to not be operating in compliance with the city ordinances.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: City Issues Cease And Desist Order To Cannabis Clubs
Author: Greg Dingrando
Contact: (719) 630-3930
Photo Credit: None Found
Website: KOAA