Marijuana: Fort Collins voters overturn dispensary ban

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Big photo below.
While Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, has received all of the pot press since election day, pro-dispensary voters in Fort Collins are celebrating a different win -- the victory of Measure 301, which overturns a ban on retail medical marijuana centers in city limits passed a year ago.

So, for those of you keeping score: Fort Collins originally allowed dispensaries, and its city council spent months coming up with regulations in 2010. Then, in 2011, the community voted to ban dispensaries during an off-year election. And now, a majority of voters (55 percent) say they want them back.

If that makes your head spin, imagine trying to run a pot business there.

We spoke with Measure 301 backer and former Organic Alternatives dispensary owner Steve Ackerman last June, as the Measure 301 campaign was kicking off. He told us that even if the bill were to pass, it would be a hard sell to get MMJ businesses back to town with the possibility of voters approving another ban a year later.

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Organic Alternatives.
"My indication that I have gotten so far [from other owners] is that they certainly have not been showing a great degree of interest," he said at the time. "The way that it is set up with the local option, this could go on and on until somebody at the state level does something to change it. Maybe to say that it can only happen in presidential election years or something like that. Our hope is that the voters in the community will tire of it after two go-arounds with it, and say, 'Hey, this is a good thing for our community.'"

The new bill also sets a few more rules for dispensaries. Of course, they must be at least 1,000 feet from a school or daycare center (as the U.S. Attorney has made abundantly clear). But they also have to be more than 500 feet from churches and parks. The bill also sets a limit of one dispensary for every 500 registered patients in the city. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, there were just over 5,000 patients in Larimer County. That would mean at most there could be as many as ten dispensaries in town, assuming every patient lives in city limits -- although that isn't likely. The CDPHE does not break down its data by city.

Ackerman says those who are going to open up will likely keep a lower profile and hopes that the added regulations prevent any future bans.

"One of the things we had going against us was not only seventy years of misinformation about marijuana, but the way that medical marijuana dispensaries came into being," he told us earlier this year. "It was somewhat of a free for all and a lot of people looked at the early days of dispensaries and said: 'We don't want this'. I can understand that and agree with them. But after the Department of Revenue got involved and set up regulations, it was a much different story than what was depicted by the [pro ban supporters].

"People don't want to see what you guys have in Denver," he said. "In Fort Collins, we'll have a different way of doing it here. It will be less in-your-face business."

More from our Marijuana archive circa February 2012: "Medical marijuana ban: All Fort Collins dispensaries must close by midnight."

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32 comments
Ernest Berke Foundation
Ernest Berke Foundation

BIGOTS..sure changed their minds FOR MONEY TO THEIR SCHOOLS! THAT CONSTITUTES WHORE like mentality in my book..money buys MOST BIGOTS!

Monkey
Monkey

The DOR has removed all mention of a caregiver registry from their website. They used to say something like, (registry not available yet) or something like that. Now it's removed from both the license section and the fee schedule. Maybe they finally gave up on that un-constitutional registry, at least it seems they have.

cjpk420
cjpk420

Who else thinks this jack ass dude is the real puerile douchebag and ray martinez is the acual clown here????

rjrcollins
rjrcollins

Is anyone taking up a collection for Ray Martinez? I am sure he is suffering a stroke after the results came in.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

And those same Voters can once again BAN dispensaries anytime they desire. So go ahead Pot Clowns, continue to act like the Puerile Douchebags you're known to be and see what happens.

 

Note -- A64 allows every municipality or county to BAN recreational retail stores entirely.

 

84 cities/counties have already BANNED "medical" marijuana stores -- this legislative session will see many if not all of them preemptively banning any putative recreational pot shops.

 

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

The People have spoken, but they should not have had to; Fort Collins' ban was illegally instituted months after the deadline specified in HB10-1284.

OptimistHippopotamus
OptimistHippopotamus

 @DonkeyHotay It will work just fine: either city-council enacted bans will be overturned by the will of the people or the market will ensure that regions progressive enough to use the tax revenue generated by legalization effectively and intelligently are demonstrably more prosperous. TABOR has so limited the government's ability to generate revenue that even the most cross-eyed, non-ironically sideburned button-down bureaucrat should be able to figure it out with relative quickness.

 

Talk about a grassroots movement: born at the state level here and in WA, this will lead to a change in federal law. That is not to say that the Feds won't demand their pound of flesh closest the heart -- it will happen and it will be sad and stupid and ridiculous -- but everyone can see the writing on the wall now. It's just a matter of time.

guest
guest

 @RobertChase

 City rep said they will no longer challenge or vote on keeping or banning med shops in Fort Collins......So yes according to donkey dipshit me and my big med pot business buddies are going to open a shop in the area. Now here is reality, we are not big business people we are actual true locals and our hope is quality meds for people at a great price. The plan also is to create jobs for the area and revenue for the community. So thank you donkey dipshit for all the name calling and insults I'll think of you the day we open and have nothing but a big smile on my face

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @OptimistHippopotamus  What tax revenue?

 

The total sales tax revenue generated by all the MMJ dispensaries in Boulder County at its peak -- nearly 100 dispensaries -- was LESS THAN 1/2 of 1% of the total sales tax collected from other sources -- retail, restaurants, etc.

 

1/2 of 1% ! ... hardly the "save the economy" windfall that ignorant -- or lying -- stoners have been promoting.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @guest  @RobertChase 

 

You're a day late and a dollar short.

 

A64 has been passed, and now the 10s of thousands of FAKERS who've been hiding behind "medical" marijuana will be jumping ship from the charade of Red Cards. 

 

One Boulder Pot Lawyer predicts A64 will completely end MMJ in Colorado within a year of implementation.

 

Of course, as a "legitimate" medical marijuana dispensary, you will NOT be able to legally sell or dispense to any recreational stoners -- only Red Card medical patients.

 

Or do you naively think that with such antipathy toward "medical" marijuana that Fort Collins is going to allow Recreational Pot Shops?

 

You may have a few months of "medical" business left, if you could open immediately. But since you'll have to start from scratch with the DOR MMED and the City, and you can't open until completely approved by both, it'll take nearly a year or more BEFORE you get license to open, BEFORE you can begin to grow a single "medical" plant., but AFTER you've invested ALL your $$ in the retail and grow operations.

 

Average costs to set up both from scratch are ~$150,000 and up.

 

So go ahead, pour your entire life savings into this venture -- and ignore the reality that 70% of all MMJ dispensaries in Colorado have FAILED in the last 24 months since they got the REGULATION they begged for. Remember -- Regulation Works !!

 

What could possibly go wrong in your quest for the Big Green Jackpot?

 

LOL!

 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@rjrcollins"One of my clients was audited by Colo "

 

Ask Harborside how the "hide the expenses" in a "different entity" -- eg. sham transaction -- is working for them under FEDERAL IRS scrutiny.

 

 @rjrcollins  " I have no worries about violating laws."

 

LOL! -- that's what Chris Bartkowicz and Pierre Werner said too.

 

Google "money laundering marijuana dispensary" 

About 118,000 results (0.34 seconds) 

 

First result -- 

 

*** IRS seizes bank accounts of Sacramento medical marijuana dispensary ***

 

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/15/4563732/irs-seizes-bank-accounts-of-sacramento.html

 

*** Feds target medical-marijuana dispensaries ***

 

"In June, a Justice Department memo to U.S. attorneys said dispensaries and licensed growers could be prosecuted for violating federal drug and money-laundering laws."

 

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2011-10-07/marijuana-medical-california/50691598/1

 

 @rjrcollins  "Actually I do not charge very much for my work ..."

 

Your clients are obviously getting what they pay for.

 

 @rjrcollins " ... as I consider it a public service."

 

How is aiding and abetting Continuous Criminal Enterprises in Laundering their Drug Profits "a public service" ?

 

 

rjrcollins
rjrcollins

 @DonkeyHotay  @OptimistHippopotamus

 You obviously are not familiar with tax law. There is no deduction for cost of sales for marijuana but all other expenses are deductable as long as they are assigned to a different entity. One of my clients was audited by Colo and found everything in order. I have not heard of a single case involving money laundering-perhaps you can cite one? Actually I do not charge very much for my work as I consider it a public service. Please cite federal (or any) law that prohibits a bookkeeping service from assisting with the required governmental reporting. As far as the net income-you are correct in that it is not as good as it should be but there is a profit. I have no worries about violating laws.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @rjrcollins  @OptimistHippopotamus "Actually I am a CPA and do books for some dispensaries"

 

LOL! --- you're a CPA ?? ... for Dispensaries? -- ie. Continuing Criminal Enterprises engaged in Money Laundering

 

... and you have NO CLUE as to the financial failure that is commercial MMJ in Colorado?

 

So tell us Robert Collins, CPA -- after NOT being allowed standard business deductions by law for operating a Criminal Enterprise -- ie. Dispensary -- what is the average ROI for your Gangjapreneur clients?

 

HipTip -- a Subway sandwich shop or Espresso Cafe makes more ROI, with less hassle and no daily criminal liability.

 

The largest most "successful" dispensary in the U$A -- Harborside Health in Oakland -- which does MILLIONS per MONTH in revenue, has stated that they will be BROKE and BANKRUPT when forced to pay the IRS their back tax assessment.

 

With only 100k available "patients" statewide -- most whom grow their own or have private caregivers grow for them -- and nearly 400 dispensaries still operating in Colorado -- what idiots would invest $250k+ in a federally illegal business operation to only have access to ~125 total customers on average, customers who's nominal purchase is a pathetic 1/8th for $25 ... 

 

As a Licensed CPA, how many Federal Felony laws are you allowed to violate -- or assist your clients in violating -- on an ongoing basis?

 

HipTip: Federal Money Laundering carries a 20 year prison sentence -- per count! -- and there is no client privileged for accountants, so when the Feds/IRS come and squeeze you for info on your clients, you'll be forced to rat them out if you have any hopes of keeping out of prison, or keeping your license.

 

Has the Marijuana Accountancy business been a financial windfall for you ... so much that you'd risk everything for it?

 

The vast majority of Lawyers in Colorado -- the honest and ethical ones -- won't have ANYTHING to do with advising or representing any ongoing MMJ business, for obvious ethical and legal reasons.

 

Were you really that desperate for $$ ?

 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @rjrcollins  @OptimistHippopotamus 

 

Property Tax is paid whether the property is occupied by a Pot Shop or not.

 

Income taxes, etc on the minimum wage-slave, high school dropout "bud tenders" ??

 

LOL!

 

Big Picture = Marijuana is NOT the financial windfall that delusional stoners like you dream about.

 

Now figure in that 75% of ALL dispensaries have FAILED in the last 24 months -- thanks to the REGULATION they begged for -- and those now bankrupt owners and their unemployed staff are sucking off the public welfare and food stamp tit once again, and you'll see that Commercial MMJ has been a GIGANTIC FIASCO for the State and the Taxpayers.

 

The DOR MMJ has spent ALL the MILLIONS they've collected, and not even approved 1/2 of the applicants in more than a year since they applied!

 

Smart business people have even figured out that there is way more $$$ in Dog Sitting than MMJ -- right Rico ?

 

rjrcollins
rjrcollins

 @DonkeyHotay  @OptimistHippopotamus

 Time will tell-all you have is an OPINION. I will wait and see the results in a couple of years. How do you know I am a stoner? Actually I am a CPA and do books for some dispensaries but do not partake at the current time-maybe in 2014. You really have a negative attitude. Perhaps you should seek professional help.

rjrcollins
rjrcollins

 @DonkeyHotay  @OptimistHippopotamus

 I agree-local sales tax ONLY. Other taxes apply that are good for state and local. Local property tax, state sales tax, state income tax on business,federal income tax on business, federal payroll tax on employer, employee state income tax, employee federal income tax, federal unemployment tax, state unemployment tax. So what if the local tax collected is small. Look at the big picture. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @nate505  -- So when are you opening your retail store, eh numbnuts?

nate505
nate505

 @DonkeyHotay  @OptimistHippopotamus 

 

Who gives a damn about all the people you know.  These stores do great business, because they have customers, and they do great business despite there being a restricted clientele.

 

The rest of your post is so dumb it's hard to comment on all of it's stupidity, other than the simple fact that you are wrong, you are stupid, and you know absolutely nothing about how retail business works.  And you're stupid.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @OptimistHippopotamus "Most of the folks I know never bothered to get their red card, even after CDPHE lowered the cost."

 

ALL the folks I know would NEVER purchase their marijuana from a Retail Store, medicinal or recreational.

 

Not Ever!

 

Only losers, flakes and fools too stupid or lazy to grow their own, or too uncool to know any grower/dealers would ever use a retail recreational store for bud.

 

hth.

 

 

OptimistHippopotamus
OptimistHippopotamus

 @DonkeyHotay A big part of that is, I think, due to the restricted nature of the medical registry: just because there are about 100,00 (?) registered patients in the state certainly doesn't mean that is the total number of cannabis consumers in Colorado! Most of the folks I know never bothered to get their red card, even after CDPHE lowered the cost.

 

These locations would be open to every citizen over the age of 21, regardless of medical status. Of course they will bring in huge numbers of people!

 

As for your figures, Oakland's dispensaries made the city "$1.4 million in taxes from them — nearly 3 percent of all the business taxes it collected." (quote from the NYT) in 2011, so it is absolutely possible to generate effective reveneu.

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