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Colorado Springs Group Launches Bid to Legalize Recreational Pot Sales |

Colorado Springs community leaders and business owners have filed a petition to legalize the sale of recreational cannabis.

Amendment 64 was passed in Colorado in 2012. It legalized recreational cannabis sales. Regulations began in Colorado two years later. Colorado Springs, however banned recreational cannabis sales. However, the city has more than 100 dispensaries that offer medical cannabis. 

Colorado Springs Ballot Measure Filed

On Monday, the group Your Choice Colorado Springs filed ballot language for a proposed voter initiative that would allow the city’s existing medical marijuana dispensaries to apply for licenses to sell adult-use cannabis. According to the group’s statement, Colorado Springs residents have to move to cities with recreational marijuana sales. Your Choice Colorado Springs claims that this has led to the loss of millions in revenue from sales taxes.

“It’s hard to believe just how much tax revenue politicians have robbed our city of over the past decade,” said Cliff Black, an attorney and the lead elector petitioning the city for adult-use cannabis sales. “Recreational marijuana is 100 percent legal for every single adult living in the city. The city does not get any of these benefits. Residents instead drive to Manitou and Pueblo and spend their money there, then take their pot back to Colorado Springs. With this initiative, we are asking voters if they want to keep their tax dollars local.”

According to the group, Manitou Springs was the only place in El Paso County where recreational marijuana sales are allowed. Due to the low level of competition and high demand locally, Manitou Springs’ two marijuana dispensaries have been among the most successful in the state.

According to the Colorado Springs Voter Survey, Amendment 64 was approved by about 3,000 voters. Westword. The city council has rejected previous attempts to legalize recreational marijuana sales. Additionally, Colorado Springs Mayor Mayor John Suthers, who once served as state attorney general, has been a vocal opponent of recreational marijuana sales since taking office in 2015.

“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 candidate for city council. “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.”

Organizations Hope to Hold November 2022’s Vote

Your Choice Colorado Springs will be allowed to submit the proposal for a ballot language if the City Initiative Review Committee approves it. The group will then have 90 days in which to obtain the roughly 33,000 signatures necessary to include the initiative onto the November 2022 election ballot.

To comply with the city’s cap on retailers, the ballot measure would only permit existing medical marijuana dispensaries to sell recreational cannabis with state approval. Colorado Springs would be unable to allow the opening of new marijuana dispensaries under this proposal.

The Your Choice Colorado Springs website states that recreational cannabis sales revenue in Colorado Springs could help to fund improvements in public safety and mental health, as well as support for veterans. Recreational cannabis revenue would be subject to an annual audit by a citizen committee “to ensure that money is being spent where voters approved,” according to the group.

“It’s time for Colorado Springs to catch up with the times and make sure we’re keeping the tax revenues that rightfully belong to the people of Colorado Springs,” Jimmy Garrison, a veteran and founder of a PTSD retreat and camp for veterans Lost Creek Ranch said in a statement for Your Choice Colorado Springs. “As a veteran, I’m thrilled to see that a portion of these tax revenues will support our American heroes and my fellow veterans who paid a price for their service and now struggle with PTSD.”

Unofficial surveys conducted last year by local news stations revealed that most people supported legalizing recreational marijuana in Colorado Springs. Black also stated that the organizers of this ballot initiative have collected support data.

“We’ve done the polling, and believe the voters are in favor of allowing recreational sales in Colorado Springs,” he said.