In 2012, Colorado Springs residents passed Amendment 64 and approved recreational marijuana use by more than 3,000 votes at the time. Despite these numbers, local officials including the city’s mayor has failed to implement legislation that would allow the recreational sale of cannabis. These restrictions have forced residents to purchase marijuana in Manitou Springs, which has not only driven business away from local stores but has robbed the city of valuable tax dollars. In fact, it’s estimated the city has lost $150 million in tax revenue over the last ten years due to the restriction on recreational marijuana.
A group of citizens, led by our very own Clifton Black, has decided to take action by delivering a petition to place recreational marijuana back on the November ballot. The petition was filed on Monday January 24th with the City Clerk Sarah Johnson’s Office. The measure would change the City Charter, which would mean the petition circulation time will be limited to only 90 days and require an additional 30,000 signatures. The other route of an initiated ordinance would have instead extended over 180 days and would only require 19,000 signatures.
Why Legalize Recreational Marijuana in Colorado Springs?
The purpose of the measure is to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana for shops who are already licensed to sell medical cannabis. This allows the sale of recreational marijuana to take place while limiting the number of recreational shops. It would also impose a 5% tax on all sales, which could be spent on mental health services, PTSD programs for veterans, and the city’s public safety.
The measure also proposes all recreational marijuana sales be subject to an annual citizen’s audit. The audit would allow citizens to rest assured their taxes are being spent where they approved and a citizen oversight board would be created to cement that fact.
“It’s hard to believe just how much tax revenue politicians have robbed our city of over the past decade,” Clifton Black of Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC stated in the release. “Recreational marijuana is 100% legal for every single adult living in the city. Yet the city gets none of the benefits.”
The group argues that Manitou Springs currently has the most profitable recreational cannabis stores in the state due to the lack of competition. They go on to maintain that why should Colorado Springs residents’ taxes go to Manitou Springs when there are plenty of projects that need to be done in the city that could be accomplished by taxing recreational marijuana sales.
What’s the Likelihood Recreational Marijuana Will be Legal?
Clifton Black has been actively working with city council members for years in an attempt to get recreational marijuana back on the ballot. Unfortunately, despite his efforts, Mayor John Suthers and other city council members have largely opposed the idea of recreational marijuana. Their primary reason is the large military presence currently in Colorado Springs as the military community opposes cannabis for recreational purposes despite the fact federal workers are barred from consuming recreational cannabis in any way.
If the measure is validated with enough adequate signatures, then it will likely be the most expensive campaign in Colorado Springs history. There’s a high likelihood the mayor and other city council members will launch an opposition campaign through their allies as well.
The Bottom Line: It’s Not Over
Despite these facts, Clifton Black and supporters of the measure have not given up. It has taken years for the city council to even get to this point, and they have enough support on their side that legalization of recreational marijuana is a strong possibility for Colorado Spring’s future.
If you’d like to get involved, please visit YourchoiceCoS.org. Clifton Black and his team at Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC also offer marijuana compliance and business formation services to those who are interested. To speak to a qualified Colorado Springs marijuana business lawyer, contact Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC today at (719) 328-1616 to set up your first consultation in the El Paso County Colorado area.