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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Colorado Springs Cannabis Recreational Initiative qualifies for November ballot

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Activists determined to legalize sales of recreational pots in Colorado Springs, Colorado, removed a major hurdle this week with the announcement that two voter initiatives for related cannabis sales for adult use would qualify for the November ballot.

The first polling measure submitted by the group Your Choice Colorado Springs It would legalize recreational weed sales in Colorado Springs, while the second would impose a 5% tax on adult cannabis purchases. If passed by voters, tax revenue from recreational sales would fund public safety improvements, expand mental health services, and support PTSD programs for veterans.

“City voters have stepped up and demanded that their voices be heard regarding the end of the recreational marijuana ban in Colorado Springs,” Your Choice campaign manager Anthony Carlson said Monday after declaring the measures eligible for the ballot. “Especially in these difficult economic times, it is critical to ensure that every tax dollar that truly belongs to the Colorado Springs taxpayers in our community continues to improve our quality of life.”

Colorado voters passed recreational cannabis sales with the passage of Amendment 64 in 2012, and regulated sales began in the state two years later. However, the Colorado Springs local government banned recreational cannabis sales in 2013, even though the city has more than 100 medical dispensaries.

Your Choice Colorado Springs announced her plan To orchestrate the ballot to legalize recreational cannabis sales in January and The circulation of petitions has begun To qualify the voting procedures in March. Activists had until June 20 to collect 19,245 signatures from Colorado Springs residents. The group far exceeded requirements, handing over 98,000 signatures last month.

Destiny taxes go to other cities

Your Choice Colorado Springs maintains that city residents who legally purchase adult-use cannabis must travel to other communities, which reap the tax benefits of recreational cannabis sales. If the initiatives are successful in the November elections, a portion of the tax revenue will help fund mental health services and support PTSD programs for military veterans. Colorado Springs has one of the highest proportion of the veteran population in the country, with 17% of the adult population identifying as veterans compared to the national average of 7.1%, According to a recent report From Center Square.

“Our district led the state in suicides last year,” Carlson said, noting that 30% of those who committed suicide were veterans. “This initiative will provide significant funding to ensure that we finally have the resources to get this crisis under control.”

Under the legalization initiative, no additional cannabis retail stores will be allowed in the city, but existing medical cannabis retailers will be able to add recreational cannabis on the same premise as their medical location. Carly Van Arnam, small business owner and lead voter sponsor of the initiatives, said the campaign “is about practicality.”

“It doesn’t make sense to continue to ban a product that is 100% legal to own and consume in our city,” Arnam said. “This campaign isn’t just about revenue. It’s about personal freedom and choice for our residents. It’s about supporting our small business and the thousands of people who employ them. It’s about expanding access to citizens’ mental health and ensuring our veterans have access to world-class PTSD programs here at Colorado Springs. It is time to wrest that decision out of the hands of a few politicians and give it to the people.”

Colorado Springs mayor opposes legalization

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, who has opposed approval of recreational cannabis sales in the city for years, issued a statement warning voters about the potential downsides to legalization.

“I remain vehemently opposed to the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado Springs. There are no regulations in Colorado limiting THC levels that continue to rise and negatively impact young marijuana users,” Suthers said. “In cities with recreational marijuana, you don’t pay the full cost of the harm it causes. Denver, in particular, offers a cautionary tale. Within three years, it has fallen from No. 2 to No. 55 in US News & World Report rankings of the best city to live in.” The prevalence of marijuana’s effect is an important factor.”

Despite opposition from city leaders, Carlson said, voters are likely to agree to hold the ballot in the November general election.

“Colorado Springs residents voted overwhelmingly to approve Amendment 64 in 2012. Our city council and mayor have repeatedly defied the will of Colorado Springs voters by keeping recreational cannabis — and tax revenue — out of Colorado Springs over the past decade, at a $150 million loss,” he said. Carlson in an email to High Times. “Now our citizens have spoken out again, and have submitted a record 98,000 signatures — 2.5 times more than needed — to put these actions on the ballot. The will of the citizens of Colorado Springs is crystal clear: They want to preserve tax revenue from recreational cannabis in Colorado Springs. to support efforts including mental health services and veterans.”

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