Council nixes pot vote
Last week, Colorado Springs City Council voted 6 to 3 to kill an ordinance that would have allowed locals to vote in April on whether the city should accept recreational-marijuana stores. The idea was brought months ago by local advocacy group Every Vote Counts, but Councilor Jill Gaebler was left as the sole proponent after group members did not appear at subsequent meetings, including last Tuesday's, when Gaebler joined Councilors Jan Martin and Helen Collins as the only votes in favor of referral.
Gaebler's position has always been one of local control. She reasoned that with marijuana for sale mere miles away in Manitou Springs, its presence is a foregone conclusion, so the city might as well regulate it. Though several councilors had re-stated their initial opposition in previous meetings — including protestations that the discussion was moving too fast; cannabis is a Schedule I substance; and the now-debunked theory it would hurt developments at Fort Carson — Council president Keith King was the only lawmaker to explain his vote against.
"I called [the Colorado Municipal League] and did a lot of issues to try and see whether or not these questions can be coupled or not," King said, referring to his desire to see the success of the pot question attached to the success of an adjoining tax question. "I think they can be coupled and I think we have evidence ... [but] I have no guarantee that it's going to go forward, so I will not be supporting this."
EVC leader Mark Slaugh says the group will meet this week to discuss its next move.
Rec-weed grows up
Tax numbers released by the state of Colorado last week show that sales of recreational marijuana have eclipsed those of medical marijuana for the first time. It's a milestone for the fledgling industry, especially in light of an MMJ-patient count that's growing due to residents seeking lower prices. Plus, as the Associated Press notes, Colorado has more than 500 MMJ centers, as opposed to 200 RMJ stores, though tourists are allowed to buy up to a quarter-ounce from the latter.
To the numbers: Reflecting sales reported in July, the state saw $29.7 million in RMJ sales, with $12 million alone coming in Denver County, versus $28.9 million in MMJ sales. Together, the two generated some $6 million in state sales tax.
In its Sept. 14 editorial opposing Washington, D.C.'s marijuana initiative, The Washington Post said Coloradans should remain the guinea pigs: "With marijuana already decriminalized, there's no reason for the District to rush the next step; why not at least give Colorado a bit more time to provide lessons?"