Keep Recreational Marijuana Taxes Local, Say Residents Of This Colorado Town With No Adult-Use Dispensaries

Keep Recreational Marijuana Taxes Local, Say Residents Of This Colorado Town With No Adult-Use Dispensaries

When Amendment 64 passed in 2012, Colorado Springs residents approved adult-use marijuana by more than 3,000 votes. Despite voter approval, local officials have continued to ban recreational marijuana sales over the past decade.

Instead, Colorado Springs residents buy recreational marijuana in cities like Manitou Springs, Denver and Pueblo. As a result, the city has lost out on tens of millions of tax dollars annually.

What Happened

This week, a group of Colorado Springs residents, business and community leaders, has filed ballot language with the city clerk’s office to give residents the choice this November whether to allow recreational cannabis sales in Colorado Springs.

“It’s hard to believe just how much tax revenue politicians have robbed our city of over the past decade,” said Cliff Black, a local resident, attorney, and the lead elector petitioning the city for recreational sales. “Recreational marijuana is 100% legal for every single adult living in the city. Yet the city gets none of the benefits. Instead, residents drive and spend their hard-earned money in Manitou, Pueblo, and even Denver, and then bring their marijuana right back home to Colorado Springs. With this initiative, we are asking voters if they want to keep their tax dollars local.”

Why It Matters

Today, Manitou Springs is the only municipality in El Paso County that permits recreational cannabis sales. The two dispensaries in Manitou Springs are the most profitable recreational marijuana stores in the entire state.

The reason? Lack of competition and an abundance of local demand. The two Manitou stores serve the 720,000 residents of fast-growing El Paso County, the most populous county in the state.  

The coalition’s ballot initiative stands on a firm foundation of responsibility to the Colorado Springs community. If passed, only the existing medical marijuana dispensaries already operating within the city will be able to sell recreational marijuana and sales of both will take place under the same roof. The citizen initiative will align with the city’s existing license cap, meaning no new stores will be allowed. Revenue from the taxes will fund mental health services, PTSD programs for veterans and public safety. 

“When Colorado began adult-use sales of cannabis in 2014, we anticipated that our local officials would respect the will of the voters and craft a regulatory structure allowing recreational sales,” said Karlie Van Arnam, a mother, small business owner and former city council candidate. “But instead, year after year, politicians have declined to provide a regulatory structure to collect precious tax revenue for our city. Today, Colorado Springs residents are taking this decision back into our own hands to finally give ourselves the choice to vote on allowing recreational sales in our community.”

What’s Next

If the initiative is passed, all revenue generated by recreational marijuana sales will be subject to an annual citizens audit to ensure that money is being spent where voters approved.

“This measure allows us to take recreational marijuana out of the illicit market plus send significant tax revenues to support our city’s 80,000 veterans, strengthen our region’s mental health capabilities and enhance public safety.  It’s a choice Colorado Springs residents can—and should—make for themselves,” said Schuyler Foerster, a retired military officer.

The coalition of voters petitioning the city includes:

  • Cliff Black, local resident and attorney
  • Karlie Van Arnam,  former city council candidate and small business owner
  • Schuyler Foerster, educator, consultant, civic activist, retired military officer 
  • Rachel Beisel, Entrepreneur, CEO of Leadout Sales, investor, author, coach and mentor for startups
  • Sue Prendinger, retired social worker and child abuse investigator

Those who want to get involved to finally bring recreational cannabis sales to Colorado Springs can visit to express their interest in signing the petition.

Posted In: CannabisNewsMarkets


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