Local Leaders Should Legalize Recreational Retail Sales Of Marijuana

Marijuana

 

In 2012, prohibition of Marijuana finally ended in this beautiful state with the passing of Amendment 64 making the recreational use and sale of marijuana legal in the state of Colorado. 

As soon as the law passed many local lawmakers across the state immediately flooded their city councils with proposed legislation to outlaw retail sales in their given city or county. 

Under Amendment 64 everyone over the age of 21 in Colorado was given the right to use marijuana without needing a medical prescription.  However, the amendment left it open for local governments to choose whether or not they would allow recreational dispensaries. Many local governments across the state opted to ban any kind of retail sales within their jurisdictions. 

The real question to raise here is why? Many local leaders have thrown out reasons to make this decision that honestly seem ridiculous to me. There are so many reasons why I believe retail sales should be legal in all areas of Colorado including Teller County that I will choose to discuss one reason at a time. 

My current argument for this edition is the fact that it is a poor business decision for the entire community when their local leaders choose that retail sales of recreational marijuana are “ok” in other places but “not here.” Every local government whether large or small must in some way run their municipality like it is a business. Every city or county must come up with ways to generate revenue to pay for the various luxuries the local governments provide for the citizens. Locally, In recent years, there has been a lot of fuss about the lack of funding this particular area has in order to complete the things required to make Teller County an enjoyable place to live. Due to economic changes in the area almost all the local governments have suffered from a lack of funding and drastic budget cuts. A majority of what we tend to hear from local leaders are cries that there is not enough tax revenue to complete the projects that the citizens of the area desire. Anytime something new to benefit the community is proposed the local leaders are forced to ask the citizens to increase the amount they pay in taxes which has proven not to be a popular decision by the citizens of Teller County. 

In 2012 the state of Colorado handed all local leaders in the state a “golden ticket” to increase their local government revenue by allowing them to not only sell recreational marijuana but also to impose an extra sales tax on top of the 25% required by the state. 
Selling and taxing marijuana has proven to be a good way to produce revenue for local governments. 

In 2012 the medical marijuana industry in the state produced a state wide revenue of almost $200 million and the state of Colorado pocketed $5.4 million in sales taxes! Now folks, this seems like a lot but this is only medical, not recreational sales.  Aside from the advantages of receiving extra tax revenue, many areas in Colorado have figured out how to profit from recreational marijuana in other ways as well. Many companies are now popping out with new “pot tourism” ideas. 
Teller County is an area that invites tourism to bolster the local economy.  Why not welcome the new market of “pot tourism.” 

The city of Cripple Creek is one of only three towns in Colorado that allows gambling. The first dispensary that was awarded a license to sell recreational marijuana in the state was Central City, one of Cripple Creek’s competitors in receiving gaming tax revenue from the state. So come on everyone, lets push our local leaders around the state to allow everyone to take advantage of this special situation we have been given and profit from it.  Cripple Creek and Teller County should take advantage of the opportunity of selling legal recreational marijuana to create more revenue through tourism, gaming and sales tax revenue.