Medical Marijuana Takes City to New Sales Tax High

While El Paso County deals with a lawsuit over a ballot measure to ban medical marijuana businesses, the city of Colorado Springs is laughing all the way to the bank.

The August sales of medical marijuana and marijuana-infused products generated $56,991 in sales tax revenue for the city, a record high and a nearly 12 percent increase from July.

So far this year, the city has collected nearly $325,000 in sales tax revenue from the medical marijuana industry – almost three times the amount collected all of last year.

“I think this provides a little more evidence to us that we should let the industry continue and see how it works in our community and not shut it down prematurely,” Mayor Lionel Rivera said Thursday of the latest sales tax numbers.

At the same time, he said, the Police Department and other city agencies involved in regulating the industry need to compile information to ensure the costs, “both from just a people standpoint and the social impacts,” don’t outweigh the financial benefits.

“I think that’s one good reason why we, the city, did not put something on the ballot in November,” Rivera said.

County commissioners opted otherwise and referred a question to the Nov. 2 ballot asking voters whether medical marijuana businesses should be prohibited in the unincorporated areas of the county.

Now, commissioners are staring at a lawsuit filed by a pro-medical marijuana group seeking a preliminary injunction to have the measure removed from the ballot.

Rivera said City Council members considered the possibility of a lawsuit if they placed a similar question on the ballot, which some residents urged them to do.

“We knew that municipalities or county governments would put things on the ballot that may be challenged in court (and) that we’d rather have them do that and spend the money to test the court rather than us do that,” he said.

“We believe, at least six out of the nine of us believe, that we’re following what the state constitution allows,” he added. “We’ll wait and see how the court cases fall out from other cities and counties.”

– Article from The Gazette.