A handful of small towns around Colorado are recognizing the benefits cannabis can bring to their community. Rather than being so full of themselves that they can’t get out of the way of their own egos, these tiny municipalities are seeing relief from their budget problems.
Last Saturday brought an informational town hall to Palmer Lake, where residents sounded off on the coming April vote to reverse the ban on recreational marijuana. Tempers reportedly flared at the meeting, which included testimony such as a letter given to the town council by Planning Commission member Jim Adams (and provided to the Indy).
“The only question for town council or the citizenry to consider is whether or not profit from cannabis sales in Palmer Lake will be taxed, in a well regulated environment, or remain untaxed and unregulated on the black market,” Adams wrote. “As it is, the Town Council has ignored the majority vote of the citizens, repeated requests from businesses and individuals, a citizen petition, and a guarantee of large revenue increases, and voted, never less than four to one against, to deny retail cannabis sales.”
Wednesday night Manitou Springs City Council guaranteed, by a 6 to 1 vote, that the town would be one of the few municipalities in El Paso County to allow recreational-marijuana stores.
“We have a set of, I think, very rigorous and responsible regulations that were passed last night,” says Mayor Marc Snyder in an interview this morning. “And those will go into effect five days from publication, which should occur today or tomorrow, and then five days after that the city will be open to take applications.”
In October, the town collected about $67,000 in sales tax revenues, up from the about $16,000 it typically collected in a month five years ago.
Paired with a sales tax increase in 2010 and more businesses coming to town, Garden City has been able to fix roads, hire a code enforcement officer, trim or take down about 60 sick and dead trees, and to invest in matching grants for businesses improving their facade or residents replacing fences.
“I’m very proud to say, we don’t have a single pothole in Garden City; I checked,” Seifried said.