Pueblo for Positive Impact is an advocacy group in Pueblo County, Colorado that, according to its website, supports “Robust economic development for Pueblo County and its citizens” and “Long-range economic development decisions which address current and future workforce needs” as well as “Effective communication with government officials at all levels.” They stand against “Government bodies which devise policy without sufficient citizen input and or notification,” but basically they don’t want marijuana around.
In an article originally published in the Pueblo Chieftan and re-posted to its website, the Pueblo for Positive Impact story is revealed as such: group co-founder Paula McPheeters was driving her fifth grade son home from school one evening when they passed a local dispensary and her son said to her, “We just learned about this stuff [in a Drug Abuse Resistance Education class]. How could people vote for this to be legal when it’s really not safe? How could that happen?”
One can only imagine the fight McPheeters would have had on her hands had they passed a tobacco or liquor store, instead.
It’s easy to mock McPheeters and the Pueblo for Positive Impact group on an initial skim of their website. They repeatedly refer to cannabis as being dangerous, of having dangers people may be unaware of, without stating many—if any—hard facts or statistics. The website makes prominent use of a Martin Luther King Jr. quote, which seems melodramatic if not downright inappropriate.
But then, McPheeters also points out that citizens of the nearby town of Rye, armed with a petition to prevent a grow operation from settling there, felt ignored by a city councilman who reportedly “got 25 percent of his (campaign) money from the industry.”
She also mentions that many dispensaries have been placed in Pueblo West, where 51 percent of residents voted against Amendment 64, which made recreational marijuana use legal in Colorado.
The battle over marijuana, who should have it, why and when, rages on in Colorado and other states, and will continue to be a hotly debated topic in American politics for years to come. It will come as no surprise if more and more groups like the PFPI emerge throughout the next political cycle—the Pueblo group is in fact associated with Smart Approaches to Marijuana, an alliance dedicated to finding a “middle road between incarceration and legalization,” who also view “the marijuana industry as the Big Tobacco of our time.”
Groups like these may well become incredibly valuable in coming years as the legal marijuana industry continues to grow.