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Uptight Colorado Springs Rethinking Its Ban on Marijuana

Coloradans have enjoyed the benefits of legal recreational cannabis sales while Colorado Springs opted to keep it illegal — and five years later is rethinking its ban.

In a report in the Los Angeles Times, Colorado Springs leaders and residents are pushing for the legalization door to be shoved open. The Times’ Kurtis Lee reports:

For Colorado Springs City Council President Richard Skorman, it’s frustrating to watch the cash flow to other cities — “sales tax leakage,” he calls it.

“People are going all over this state to buy marijuana and it’s outrageous,” Skorman said. “It’s already legal. It’s in the state’s Constitution.”
Skorman is teaming with a local group, Citizens for Safer Neighborhoods, which is working to get a legal pot initiative on the local ballot in November. The group must gather 20,000 signatures by the summer to place it before voters in this city of 465,100.

Safer Neighborhoods commissioned an economic study by a University of Denver professor that estimated Colorado Springs would make an additional $20 million in taxes — money that supporters say could, among other things, help repair roads and hire more police officers.

It’s not as if Colorado Springs is a “dry” town: City leaders still allow more than 350 medical marijuana dispensaries to operate within its borders. But there has been a five-year tug-of-war over full adult recreational retail sales.

According to the Times, if all the licensed medical marijuana businesses in the city were paid a licensing fee of $7,500 for recreational sales, Colorado Springs would collect more than $2.4 million out of the gate. And when you add tax revenue from each sale, residents and politicians alike understand the huge financial upside.

Tom Scudder, who is a member of Safer Neighborhoods and a dispensary owner in the city, is frustrated by the ban. “We are literally allowing money to walk right out of the city,” Scudder told the Times. “For what? Because of some so-called ‘conservative values.’ ”

Read the entire Los Angeles Times story here

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