COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. — At the eastern bottom of the Rocky Mountains actuality — a mile aerial and beneath the baroque peaks that aggressive lyrics for “America the Beautiful” — you’ll acquisition a ample island.
As added cities and towns in Colorado accept been cashing in on retail marijuana afterwards the accompaniment legalized cannabis in 2012, Colorado Springs, the state’s additional bigger city, has aloof said no.
Michigan communities could face the aforementioned accommodation if voters this November canyon a election angle to approve marijuana.
Video: Colorado Springs rejects recreational marijuana
Nearly 75 percent of Michigan cities, towns and villages accept autonomous not to acquiesce medical marijuana dispensaries, so they ability not favor acceptance recreational either. Cass County, for instance, has no communities listed with the accompaniment as acceptance medical marijuana businesses.
“We accept no approaching affairs of opting in on that recreational angle if it passes,” Jerry Marchetti, administrator of Ontwa Township in Cass, said.
Prospects are cryptic in cities like Niles, breadth the ambassador had to casting a tie-breaking vote to acquiesce medical marijuana businesses.
Colorado Springs isn’t abandoned in banning retail cannabis sales. Alone about a division of Colorado cities and towns admittance them. But it is a notable exception.
“We’re by far and abroad the bigger burghal that’s alone it,” Ambassador John Suthers said.
“We’re aloof a little island that’s resisting.”
But some admiration if the attrition makes faculty if the burghal is missing out on millions in acquirement — and association are affairs recreational cannabis anyhow aloof above burghal banned in the baby adjoining burghal of Manitou Springs, which has the alone two retail marijuana shops in a 35-mile radius. There’s been allocution about accepting the affair on a election for burghal voters to decide.
Yet, it isn’t all aloof about the money.
For the mayor, it’s a moral issue. For some Burghal Board associates it’s about what’s practical. For a bounded business owner, it’s about abandon and enterprise.
Why the resistance?
Located about an hour south of Denver, Colorado Springs and its surrounding breadth is home to about 670,000 people, bristles aggressive bases, U.S. Olympic Committee address and the bourgeois Christian alignment Focus on the Family. Skiing, hiking, biking and added alfresco activities are popular. The burghal and the canton it’s in, El Paso, are projected to beat the Denver breadth as the state’s best crawling arena by 2035.
While medical marijuana is accessible at added than 120 dispensaries in Colorado Springs if you’re a card-holding patient, Burghal Board voted to ban the auction of recreational marijuana. The canton autonomous out, too.
Because marijuana charcoal actionable at the federal level, there’s a abhorrence that if the burghal accustomed retail sales, it could become a atramentous mark adjoin it if any of the aggressive bases are advised for cease or realignment, Burghal Board President Richard Skorman said.
“We’re consistently afraid,” Skorman said. “Fort Carson is the bigger bounded employer.”
The Army abject has added than 25,000 soldiers.
Suthers, a above Colorado advocate accepted and accepted “drug war dinosaur,” thinks banning sales is in befitting with the community’s ability and “relatively bourgeois population.”
“I anticipate it’s important, and I anticipate our accessible does, to say as a community, decidedly with our aggressive presence, our sports emphasis, we don’t anticipate accepting aerial for fun is acceptable accessible policy,” Suthers said.
He cites ascent ante of marijuana use amid Colorado youth, fears of adorning actuality abuse, and a advancing atramentous bazaar that uses acknowledged cannabis as awning as three reasons, amid others, he thinks it’s amiss for the burghal to advance retail marijuana and accomplish money off sales.
Plus, he said, the money sales would accompany in is almost basal and “not account the cost.”
How abundant money?
A pro-cannabis accumulation commissioned a University of Denver abstraction that aftermost year begin Colorado Springs’ retail pot sales ban ability be causing the burghal to lose $25 actor per year in taxes, fees and added revenue.
“Oh, that’s ridiculous,” Suthers said.
He said the city’s “best estimate” on retail pot is that it could accomplish about $10 actor per year in revenue.
The burghal brings in about $3 actor per year in acquirement from medical marijuana dispensaries, which is about the aforementioned bulk it costs to adapt them, Skorman said.
Those numbers are baby in the city’s absolute budget, which for 2018 was about $288 million, over $174 actor of which came from sales and use taxes. Property taxes actuality are slight.
It’s unclear, though, how abounding retail shops there could be in Colorado Springs and accordingly how abundant acquirement they could generate.
An hour to the north, the state’s bigger city, Denver, calm about $35 actor in retail marijuana acquirement in 2017, with about 170 recreational dispensaries. About $10 actor added in acquirement came in from medical marijuana.
Amid allocution of a recreational sales election activity either by aborigine address or board action, Skorman said he favors acceptance a bound cardinal of retail pot shops. He thinks 12 to 18 “tightly regulated” shops could work.
Where Skorman ability be accessible to a baby cardinal of retail shops, Burghal Board affiliate at-large Bill Murray would go big. He’d favor absolution all 120-plus medical dispensaries access retail licenses and acceptance the bazaar to agitate itself out.
Murray says the burghal is authoritative a aberration not acceptance retail marijuana sales back sales are accident on the city’s doorstep in Manitou Springs, and a ample allocation of the buyers alive in Colorado Springs.
“Your arguments are no best accurate because I can ride my bike to get what you say I can’t accept here,” Murray said.
‘Sky hasn’t fallen’
Murray, a retired Army intelligence administrator who did “a lot of adverse biologic work,” said he’s balked by the retail marijuana sales issue, and marijuana agitation in general.
He said cannabis has been disproportionately feared, to the point that agitation over it detracts from what he thinks are added acute amusing concerns, like the opioid epidemic, alcoholism, blight and blubber rates, and diabetes.
Medical marijuana has been in Colorado and abroad for decades, and now recreational marijuana has been in Colorado for six years, he said.
“You acutely see that the sky hasn’t fallen,” Murray said.
“I anticipate the ascendancy and adjustment of marijuana both medical and recreational is the answer,” Murray said.
He doesn’t see marijuana as abundant altered from booze and favors acceptance recreational marijuana burning clubs, too, which has been a afraid point in the city.
Two clubs accept burghal licenses to operate, but assemblage accept to accompany their own marijuana to consume. No added clubs can access a license, and should the absolute clubs go out of business, their licenses die with them.
Ambur Racek, co-owner of one of the burning clubs, Studio A64, said not actuality able to advertise marijuana makes it difficult to break in business, and she wants retail marijuana sales in the city. She runs a café bench to pay for the club upstairs.
Racek’s complex in efforts to abstract a burning club authorization that could be a archetypal in the accompaniment and that she hopes Colorado Springs will anytime consider.
Colorado’s law legalizing cannabis, like the angle in Michigan, does not acquiesce for accessible burning of marijuana. But several burning clubs sprang up in Colorado Springs afterwards marijuana was legalized in 2012, again were shut bottomward for illegally trading cannabis to pay for operations. Racek said abounding of them accept aloof gone underground.
Cannabis use is a “lifestyle” for approved users, she said, and they would like to accumulate with added users at a club like chastening “instead of adumbrate in their room.”
“It’s like actuality freed because this is who they are, this is how they alive their lives and now they can do it openly,” Racek said.
She has affluence of assemblage who pop over to Manitou Springs to buy their weed.
Manitou Springs has been accession about $3 actor per year in acquirement from its two retail marijuana shops. That money has gone into the accepted fund, aerial the anniversary account to about $8 million, and paid for things like alley and arch work, Ambassador Ken Jaray said.
“It’s huge,” Jaray said. “Clearly it’s accustomed us to do a lot added projects.”
Jaray said his boondocks — a “tourist-oriented abundance community” of about 5,300 — got in on sales adequately aboriginal afterwards acquisition a lot of accessible input.
“Our association ethics are added in band with accelerating anticipation that marijuana is one of those things that are bigger off adapted than ignored, that we can do a bigger job educating our adolescence if we are out in the accessible about what it does,” Jaray said.
Two food accomplish in a bartering breadth on the east side, appropriate a the bound with Colorado Springs and forth a capital avenue that connects the two cities.
Jaray said it’s bright “a ample segment” of barter at the shops are from Colorado Springs.
“We are captivated to account that market,” he said.
“John Suthers and I accede aboveboard that Colorado Springs should not accept acknowledged recreational marijuana,” Jaray said with a laugh.
Michigan voters will adjudge in November whether to approve cannabis
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