Add Pueblo City Councilman Ray Aguilera to the growing list of local officeholders who publicly oppose allowing cannabis lounges in Pueblo.
Aguilera spoke on the topic at the City Council meeting this week, saying he informally polled a throng of residents at a recent event and that the overwhelming response he received was that marijuana hospitality establishments wouldn’t be a good idea for the city.
Aguilera said he’s had enough with marijuana and doesn’t want the community to be known for just that.
“Is that all we have time to do — is worry about marijuana?” Aguilera said. “We have to be a community of character. We have to be a community where people can come and see what a great community this is, and not to be judging us by marijuana, marijuana, marijuana.
“I have a grandson now and I wonder about him and the influence all of this stuff is going to have. Who are we going to attract? People who want to come here and smoke weed? Is that really what we want to be known for? I feel very strong about it that we’ve had enough of marijuana.”
Last year, the Colorado Legislature passed a bill that gives local communities the option to allow lounges where marijuana can be purchased and used on-site, or businesses that allow individuals to bring their own marijuana and consume it.
Local governments have had the option to license these types of businesses since Jan. 1.
Mayor Nick Gradisar has said it would be prudent for the city to at least explore the possibility of permitting these businesses, since so many tourists come to Pueblo to purchase marijuana and have nowhere to go to consume the product legally, except one hotel that allows it.
The city has yet to make any decision on whether it would allow cannabis lounges, though the conversation is ongoing.