Question 300, Issue 301: Voters in Colorado Springs appear to be deciding against legalizing the sale of recreational marijuana
Colorado Springs residents appear to have rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed the sale of recreational marijuana within city limits. The ballot measure, if rejected, would reaffirm the city’s hostility to the decades-old industry.
Late Tuesday night, voters rejected recreational cannabis sales in Colorado Springs by a significant margin.
The 2022 election was the first time the citizens of Colorado Springs had a direct decision on whether to allow recreational dispensaries. At this time, and for the foreseeable future, the city’s 114 marijuana businesses will continue to be able to sell only to patients carrying medical marijuana.
Top city leaders, including Mayor John Suthers, lobbied hard against the passage of two marijuana-related measures on the city’s November ballot.
“From an economic standpoint, we’re doing fantastic in Colorado Springs,” Suthers said in an interview in October. “The costs that are passed on to the health care system, to our schools, to our correctional facilities… far exceed any economic benefit of [recreational marijuana.]”
Supporters of the two measures argued the city was losing millions of dollars in tax revenue by pushing local customers to legal recreational shops in nearby Manitou Springs or Pueblo. One would legalize the sale of recreational cannabis, and the other would direct tax dollars to mental health and public safety programs.
At the election night party for Your choice of Colorado Springs — a political action committee that supports the two marijuana measures — gathered worried that dozens of medical dispensaries that have barely stayed open pending the results of legalization efforts may now close their doors.
“They were bleeding money, struggling to stay open, but [we] They were hoping to get a result tonight that would show confidence in them and their jobs in the city,” said Anthony Carlson, Your Choice campaign manager in Colorado Springs. “They’re probably going to face some really tough decisions here in the next few weeks and months of what they’re going to continue to do with themselves.”
Carlson acknowledged Tuesday night that supporters’ hopes of passing a ballot measure to legalize the sale of recreational cannabis, Question 300, are now likely over.
Surprisingly, one of the two marijuana measures on the ballot passed. Proposition 301 — which would direct recreational pot sales taxes to mental health and public safety programs — won approval from Springs voters. However, passage of that measure is now effectively rendered moot by the failure of Question 300, which would have made recreational sales legal in the first place.
Recreational marijuana sales appear to have been successful on the ballot in the small nearby town of Palmer Lake. That community is now likely to allow up to two recreational dispensaries in the city after voters approve the measure. The recreational sale of cannabis is also legal in Manitou Springs, El Paso County.
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