Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Recreational marijuana debate returns to Colorado Springs with November ballot in its sights - FOX21News.com

Last updated Tuesday, January 25, 2022 21:29 ET

01/25/2022 / SubmitMyPR /

COLORADO SPRINGS – The debate of whether or not to allow recreational marijuana in Colorado Springs has returned to the Olympic City as a group of citizens filed to create a petition to put the issue on the ballot.

Ideally, for organizers like Clifton Black, the issue makes it to the general election in November. If it makes the ballot and voters approve it, the issue would not allow for new licenses for recreational stores, rather would instead allow the dozens of medical marijuana shops in the city to sell to people without a prescription for the plant.

“Right now, anybody who is not a patient but wants to use recreational marijuana is limited to going to Manitou Springs or Pueblo County or buying from the legal market,” said Black, a cannabis attorney for businesses at the Law Offices of Clifton Black.

Black, like many proponents of recreational marijuana over the years in Colorado Springs, points to the tax revenue the city is missing out on.

In the City of Pueblo (excluding Pueblo County tax revenue), approximately $1,163,024 was brought in from retail marijuana taxes from December 2020 through November 2021.

Hundreds of thousands of more dollars were brought in through licensing fees, according to the city’s latest budget.

Colorado Springs has more than four times the residents of Pueblo, and Black estimates the city could bring in $10-15 million in tax revenue. He believes that most of the customers Colorado Springs “misses out” on are going to Manitou Springs. Because Manitou Springs has less than three stores, Colorado law forbids the tax revenue from the city to be publicly disclosed.

“Manitou Springs has re-done all of their roads and curbs. They’ve bought new fire equipment. The same thing is going to Pueblo,” Black said.

Black says that the measure he wants to put on the ballot would allocate the tax revenue to veteran services, mental health programs, public safety and funding the regulation of the industry in the city.

“We may be giving up tax revenue, but on the other hand how much are we spending on the harm that can and might and will be done to our people, especially our young people,” said Randy Helms, a Colorado Springs city councilor representing District 2.

Helms was elected in April of last year with a platform that included standing against recreational marijuana.

He says he’s read a slew of research that describe the behavioral and mental health problems the use of recreational marijuana among children in their teen years can...

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