Various collectives have been scrambling to get signatures in hopes of postponing Chico’s pot ban, but they did not make it, and the ban is now officially in place.
Ordinance 2505 is what we've been talking about for a couple of weeks now.
It officially went into effect yesterday, and bans all commercial marijuana activity in the city as well as puts restrictions on its cultivation and use.
“The city of Chico’s mission statement says we are a safe place to raise a family, ideal location for a business, and a premier place to live. Right now, opening up retail pot shops doesn't play into that narrative at all,” said Chico Mayor Sean Morgan.
Morgan is in favor of the pot ban, and says he's staying objective on this. He cites a report called "Lessons learned after 4 years of marijuana legalization," focused on Colorado and Washington.
“These people are all going ‘this is a bad idea, the benefits do not outweigh the cost to public safety and other things,’” he said.
The report states that marijuana use has not only gone up among legal-aged people 18-24, but has also gone up dramatically in the 12-17 year olds.
“And people say ‘oh, you can just regulate it.’ We've got tons of regulations that aren't followed through now,” Morgan said.
He also talked about homelessness, an obvious problem in Chico.
“Homelessness in Colorado is rising, and 1 in 3 people in Denver shelters, homeless shelters, say they came to Colorado because it was easier to get dope.”
On the other side of this are the more than 40 collectives in the city.
“These people are now turned into illegal businesses and criminals overnight,” said Green Gold Collective owner Jacob Smith.
“We're not making the living people think we're making, we're working just as hard, if not harder, than the average person just to make a living,” he said.
Collectives have failed to get enough signatures to postpone this ban. They cite patients’ medical needs as a major concern and Morgan says he empathizes with that and doesn't doubt it helps many people, but, at the end of the day, the federal government still classifies it as a schedule 1 drug.
Morgan said the people who decided to step out and lead the charge are suffering as a result, and he does not want that to happen to Chico.