February 4, 2022 | NEWS | By April Kwan | Photo by Eric Ingram
For the upcoming 2022 election, the hot-topic issue of recreational marijuana is already fighting for a spot on the ballot. Despite the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado in 2012 with Amendment 64, the city of Colorado Springs has only allowed marijuana sales for medical purposes. Now, a local group is petitioning to add a question to the ballot regarding recreational sales.
One of the main points of consideration that recreational marijuana advocates note is the additional tax revenue for the government. The petition states that legalizing recreational marijuana in Colorado Springs could increase tax revenue by $10 to $15 million annually, an advantage that other communities with legalized recreational marijuana already enjoy.
The petition argues on the basis of keeping money in the Colorado Springs community via taxes instead of having consumers travel elsewhere to contribute to other cities’ tax revenues. This economic stance focuses on catering to the conservative majority in Colorado Springs, with the hopes that economic gain for the community could help raise support for legalizing recreational marijuana.
The petition also cites that other communities that have legalized recreational marijuana, like Manitou Springs and Pueblo, have been better able to fund public resources like re-paving roads and fire department equipment. The petition offers various ways to spend the newfound tax revenue; it states opportunities to improve mental health and veteran resources, along with allocating more money toward public safety needs.
This petition needs at least 30,000 valid signatures to reach its goal of putting the issue of recreational marijuana on the 2022 ballot. From there, it must gain enough supporters in Colorado Springs for it to be passed in the upcoming election.
This initiative is run by an organization called Your Choice, under the social media hashtag #YourVoiceYourChoice. Their petition and organization website can be found here.
People who have outwardly opposed the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado Springs have voiced concerns about the potential for increased crime, specifically property crime. They posed increased access to marijuana as well as the potential for children and teenagers to become more familiar with the drug as drawbacks to legalizing recreational use.
The issue of legalizing recreational marijuana was originally proposed to be on the 2020 ballot but lacked support from Colorado Springs council members. They cited concerns about their ability to retain U.S. Space Command if they allowed recreational marijuana. Among advocates of legalization, there was not significant support either, because the 2020 proposal would have only allowed for 24 recreational marijuana dispensaries.
Within the conversations about allowing recreational marijuana, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers has long been a voice in opposition. He has stated that he would not support any efforts towards legalizing recreational marijuana.