As Colorado Springs voters weigh whether to legalize recreational marijuana sales, proponents are stressing the potential to collect millions in new city tax revenue and opponents have highlighted high costs it could drive for the city.
Voters will consider two recreational marijuana questions in November. One that would only allow the existing 115 medical shops to transition to recreational sales if the owners choose and a second one that would impose a 5% special tax on recreational marijuana sales. If the tax question passes the revenue would be dedicated to public safety, veterans services and mental health programs.
Local proponents backing the question with the Your Choice Colorado Springs campaign say the city has missed out on $150 million in potential tax revenue because residents are buying recreational marijuana in other communities like Pueblo, Manitou Springs and Denver. While opponents, such as Mayor John Suthers, say marijuana revenues will not cover its associated costs and legalization has not forced out the black market as the industry promised when recreational marijuana possession was legalized, among other arguments.
After legalizing recreational marijuana sales in 2014, Denver started tracking marijuana tax revenue, costs, crime and numerous other data points that can help show the effects of legalization. Denver…
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