|Photo: The Colorado Springs Gazette|
|Tanya Garduno, director of the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council, collected signatures from those opposed to a dispensary ban in the city|
Even while El Paso County, Colorado 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, reports Daniel Chacon The Colorado Springs Gazette.
August sales of medical marijuana and cannabis-infused products generated $56,991 in sales taxes for the city, a record high and a nearly 12 percent increase from July.
So far in 2010, Colorado Springs has raked in almost $325,000 in sales tax revenue from the medical marijuana industry — almost three times the entire amount collected all of 2009.
|Colorado Springs Gazette|
|Mayor Lionel Rivera: “I think this provides a little more evidence to us that we should let the industry continue”|
”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 permanently,” Mayor Lionel Rivera said Thursday after seeing the latest tax numbers.
At the same time, the Mayor said, the Police Department and other city agencies involved in regulating the industry need to compile information to ensure the costs, “both from a people standpoint and the social impacts,” don’t outweigh the financial rewards.
“I think that’s one good reason why we, the city, did not put something on the ballot for November,” Rivera said.
But El Paso County commissioners did opt to put a question on the November 2 ballot asking voters whether medical marijuana businesses should be banned in unincorporated areas of the county.
Now, commissioners are being forced to deal with a lawsuit filed by a pro-medical marijuana group trying to get a preliminary injunction to have the measure removed from the ballot.
Colorado Springs City Council members considered the possibility of a lawsuit if they placed a similar question on the ballot, according to Mayor Rivera, after some residents urged them to do so.
“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,” the Mayor said.
“We believe — at least six out of nine of us believe — that we’re following what the state constitution allows,” Rivera added. “We’ll wait and see how the court cases fall out from other cities and counties.”