The Loveland City Council is facing a decision on whether to allow marijuana dispensaries within the city limits, or to let the voters decide in the November election. The issue was brought up by Councilor Laura Light-Kovacs, who said she received requests from medical marijuana patients who have difficulty accessing the product in neighboring areas.
Light-Kovacs said that allowing dispensaries in Loveland would benefit the medical marijuana patients who need the product for their health conditions, such as chronic pain, epilepsy, or cancer. She also said that the city could generate additional sales tax revenue from the dispensaries, which could help offset the loss of revenue from the elimination of the food tax.
She proposed two motions for the council to consider: one to direct the city manager to draft an ordinance that would regulate the dispensaries and bring it back for a vote in May, and another to direct the city manager to prepare a ballot question that would let the voters decide in November.
However, some of her fellow councilors expressed opposition or skepticism about the idea of allowing dispensaries in Loveland, citing concerns about the negative impacts on the community, such as increased crime, traffic, and youth access. They also questioned the timing and the urgency of the issue, saying that it was not a priority for the city and that it should be left to the voters.
Councilor John Fogle said that he was not convinced that the dispensaries would bring any significant benefits to the city, and that he was worried about the potential legal and regulatory challenges that the city would face. He said that he would prefer to wait and see how the state and the federal laws evolve on the issue of marijuana.
Councilor Steve Olson said that he was opposed to the idea of allowing dispensaries in Loveland, and that he would not support either of the motions. He said that he did not think that the dispensaries would fit the character and the values of the city, and that he did not want to see Loveland become a destination for marijuana users.
The public input and the council decision
The council heard from several members of the public who spoke for and against the idea of allowing dispensaries in Loveland. Some of them were medical marijuana patients who shared their personal stories and experiences, and others were business owners or residents who expressed their opinions and concerns.
After listening to the public input, the council voted on the two motions. The first motion, to direct the city manager to draft an ordinance, failed by a 5-4 vote, with Light-Kovacs, Mayor Jacki Marsh, and Councilors Rob Molloy and Andrea Samson voting in favor, and Councilors Fogle, Olson, Don Overcash, Dave Clark, and Kathi Wright voting against.
The second motion, to direct the city manager to prepare a ballot question, passed by a 6-3 vote, with Light-Kovacs, Marsh, Molloy, Samson, Clark, and Wright voting in favor, and Fogle, Olson, and Overcash voting against.
The city manager will now work on crafting the language for the ballot question, which will be presented to the council for approval before the August deadline. If the council approves the question, it will be placed on the November ballot, and the voters of Loveland will have the final say on whether to allow marijuana dispensaries in the city.
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