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Group Launches Petition Drive to Bring Recreational Pot to Colorado Springs

A decade after Colorado made history and legalized recreational cannabis, the state’s second largest city may be ready to get in on the action. Colorado Springs has been preventing adult-use marijuana sales in its territory for years. Officially, the campaign to repeal that ban was launched last week by organizers.

The group “Your Choice Colorado Springs” said last week that it had “completed the title setting process with the City,” meaning that it can now start rounding up signatures to get its proposal on the city’s ballot this November.

Colorado Springs voters will decide whether adult-use cannabis should be allowed in their city if the application is approved.

“The citizens of Colorado’s second-largest city finally have it within their power to direct taxes from recreational cannabis sales back to their hometown, rather than to cities like Denver and Manitou Springs,” Anthony Carlson, campaign manager for “Your Choice Colorado Springs,” said, as quoted by the Denver Gazette. “In the coming weeks and months, Your Choice campaign team and volunteers will fan out across the city, seeking signatures from Colorado Springs voters who would like to make sure our hard-earned tax dollars are staying at home serving our community.”

In January the group stated that Colorado Springs had missed tax revenue due to potential cannabis buyers who purchase weed from other cities such as Denver.

Colorado’s legalization of recreational cannabis was approved for those aged 21 or older by the state in 2012. Colorado Springs Indy, a “majority of city residents approved recreational sales in 2012, but elected officials have refused to allow recreational pot sales within the city, often citing the presence of numerous military bases here.”

WestwordThis article provides more information about the situation.

“Colorado Springs allows around 120 medical marijuana dispensaries to operate within city limits, but the Colorado Springs City Council banned recreational pot sales in 2013, the year after Coloradans legalized recreational marijuana and the year before retail dispensaries opened. Multiple attempts to get the council to approve recreational sales in the city have failed since then, so Your Choice Colorado Springs is now going the election route,” the website reported.

Your Choice Colorado Springs estimates that the city has lost roughly $150,000,000 in revenue over the last 10 years due to the ban, saying that “every year 10 to 15 million dollars of tax revenue that can improve our quality of life is lost to Denver, Manitou Springs, and Pueblo.”

The group’s proposal “would allow only current medical dispensaries to apply for recreational sales permits, in order to comply with the city’s licensing cap; there would be no new stores,” according to Westword, noting that the campaign has “has ninety days to collect around 33,000 signatures” in order to qualify for the ballot.

John Suthers was the mayor in Colorado Springs. He reiterated his opposition for recreational pot dispensaries being allowed in the city, just months after the petitioners launched their campaign. “The petitioners would be asking to allow all 120 medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado Springs to become recreational dispensaries. Despite the many promises made in the initial Amendment 64, marijuana revenues have not successfully funded schools, and, instead, revenues have been largely used by the incredibly high cost of regulation and enforcement, including illegal grows and illegal exportation of marijuana,” Suthers said in a statement at the time, as quoted by Colorado Newsline. “Further, the lack of a THC limit in Colorado has resulted in recreational marijuana having such a high THC potency that it is having severe adverse health impacts on its users, particularly younger people.”