CALL FOR ACTION INVESTIGATES: New information about secret marijuana meeting
New details are coming to light regarding a closed door meeting between several federal agencies, the Colorado Springs mayor and the chief of police.
The meeting focused on marijuana regulation in Colorado. But while we know what they talked about at that meeting, it's still unclear what the real purpose of the meeting was.
Recreational marijuana sales are not allowed in El Paso County, but in 2012 voters here did vote yes on Amendment 64 by a razor-thin margin -- 10 votes.
Colorado Springs City Council voted in the past to prohibit recreational pot sales inside city limits, even as nearby Manitou Springs and southern neighbor Pueblo opened a handful of shops. In recent days, city council has reversed course
Mayor John Suthers, who was at last week's meeting, has remained steadfastly against allowing recreational drug sales in a city with strong military and Olympic ties.
Sithers initially denied an interview request by 11 News reporter Jessica Leicht after Leicht tried to get into the meeting. Leicht was given a statement saying the meeting wasn't open to the public because it included sensitive investigation information. But later, Suthers agreed to sit down.
"I think [the federal agencies] are in Colorado to find out what law enforcement and other regulatory agencies' view is towards marijuana regulation in Colorado," he said. "[They] indicated they're really trying to get a feel for the regulatory scheme in Colorado and what the issues are. [Local law enforcement] talking about what they're finding in houses, what they're finding and who is doing it, and where these people are coming from," he said.
Suthers told 11 News he didn't know if the feds in attendance were trying to gather evidence to prove marijuana has had a negative impact in southern Colorado, but acknowledged he suspected "you would be hard-pressed finding anybody in law enforcement that has a pro-marijuana stance."
And reiterated his own anti-pot stance.
"We should be very proud about our designation as a great American defense community. To keep a military friendly reputation with DOD, I don't think embracing getting high for fun would be a good message. I think it's totally inconsistent with our branding of Olympic City USA ... promoting Olympic values like respect, friendship, excellence -- getting high for fun does not sit in with that very well."
Leicht filled out an open records request to see what was discussed at the meeting. The power point, titled "D.C. Presentation," had slides called, "The Legalization of Marijuana and the Unintended Consequences." The slides included photos from grows, listed hazards from first responders, and discussed the negative community impacts of legalization.
A couple of slides read, "The New Meth House." It's unclear if it's referencing pot grow houses.
The Southern Colorado Cannabis Council said in a statement following the meeting that the closed-door nature undermined their efforts to work with city officials "to enact sensible regulation."
"This undermines those efforts, the will of Colorado Springs voters, and it must end. Our organization will do everything in our power to uncover what is being discussed in these meetings if the mayor does not make public the content," read their statement, in part.