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Will recreational pot shops hurt tourism?

By Eric Singer, Anchor/Reporter , e.singer@krdo.com
Published On: May 20 2013 08:07:53 PM CDT

KRDO NewsChannel 13's Eric Singer goes to Manitou Springs to see how the city feels about recreational marijuana coming to the city.

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo -

Recreational pot shops are not operational yet in Colorado, but could be in a city near you next year.  Manitou Mayor Marc Snyder told us, "While we want to honor our voters and want to welcome new businesses, I'm very concerned about us being overrun and being the Mecca for marijuana."  El Paso County Commissioners have already banned recreational pot shops in unincorporated areas of the county and Colorado Springs city leaders are leaning that way, too. 

Manitou is a a tourist heaven and some people I spoke to put in their two cents worth about a recreational pot shop. Carl Baldwin from Texas told me, "You always like to see this country and we will probably come here one time, but whether we return or not might be another question."  Carl's wife Shirley said, "If you want to make everything legal you won't need a police force, right?"

Monica Matous from Houston said, "If they want to do it, that's fine with me."  Her friend Randi Flaw who is from Colorado Springs said, "I'm okay with it.  I think the state should make money on it."

Reza Hassani is the owner of the soon to be open, only medical marijuana dispensary in Manitou.  He has a nearby dispensary in Old Colorado City.  He said tourists have already been asking for product, "In two hours I had eight or nine people come in from out of state, but of course I'm not allowed to sell it to them.  I think recreational pot shops would be great for the city for business and for job creation.  The busier we are, the more people we can hire."

Tuesday night, Mayor Snyder and City Council will hear a full briefing by the Manitou City Attorney about recreational pot shops. 

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