Colorado’s legal recreational cannabis sales commenced in 2014, but not every municipality chose to embrace the retail market, so a Colorado Springs retail cannabis market has yet to materialize; however, some citizens are looking to change that.
On July 27, 2017, Citizens for Safer Neighborhoods, a group of local business people advocating for a recreational market, revealed the findings of an economic study it had commissioned, reporting that legalizing retail cannabis businesses in Colorado Springs in 2018 would add $25.4 million in tax revenue and permit fees to the city’s coffers, as reported by KRDO.
The study, “The Economic Impact of Allowing Retail Marijuana Establishments in Colorado Springs,” was conducted by Professor Jack Strauss at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business. Beyond tax revenue, Strauss found other reasons that support the development of a Colorado Springs retail cannabis market.
“The retail market will further generate an additional 1,320 – 1,762 jobs for the region,” Strauss said, as reported by the University of Denver. “Thus, the current marijuana restrictions imply the city’s current budgetary difficulties will be resolved by permitting retail marijuana establishments.”
While $25.4 million sounds promising, the city of Colorado Springs disagrees with the study’s math.
“The study released today by a pro-marijuana interest group contains numbers that are inaccurate, as they are not based on Colorado Springs’ actual license and tax structure,” said Sarah Johnson, city clerk of Colorado Springs, to KRDO. “Further, the numbers seem to be predicated on the assumption that all 356 medical marijuana licenses would transition to retail marijuana and all sales would be retail.”
A recent poll of the Colorado Springs City Council conducted by The Gazette found that six of the nine council members support the implementation of recreational sales in the city.
Whatever the city’s potential tax revenue may be, Michael Elliott, a spokesman for Citizens for Safer Neighborhoods, put the issue into perspective.
“It’s a question of whether [cannabis is] sold by a licensed, regulated and taxed business or by the criminal element,” Elliott told The Gazette.