Marijuana sales in Cripple Creek? Voters will decide next month | Mail from Pikes Peak

Cripple Creek voters will decide next month whether to legalize the sale of recreational and medical marijuana within city limits.

If voters in the small gold mining and casino community of about 1,200 people approve the initiative, Cripple Creek would be the first municipality in Teller County to allow marijuana sales.

Campaign supporters say the measure would boost revenue for the city, which has taken a hit since casinos closed for several months at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The city’s budget relies heavily on revenue from tourism and its casinos, and money from gaming device fees has not rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, even though the city council has raised gambling fees. appliances in April.

An increase in Cripple Creek coffers from marijuana sales could help repair local roads, sewers and water supply infrastructure, and could help meet the needs of parks and recreation, among others, Kyle said. Blakely previously. Blakely is the registered agent for Cripple Creek Wins, a citizens’ group that submitted the initiative petition defending the issue that city leaders ultimately chose to return to voters.

“It would help diversify the city’s revenue to avoid a situation like during the pandemic, when casinos had to close and revenue plummeted,” Blakely said.

Some Teller County elected officials have spoken out against allowing marijuana sales in the city, saying Cripple Creek is too small to meet the emergency, law enforcement and public health needs they say , would follow if voters approved the measure.

Sheriff Jason Mikesell said allowing pot sales would increase the need for emergency service response, increase the cost of regulation and law enforcement response, and increase hospitalizations.

The sheriff’s office is “already addressing” marijuana-related public safety issues, Mikesell said. “I don’t know how we can deal with that exponentially if we sell it legalized here at a much higher dose than anyone can grow at home.”

Blakely said legalizing pot sales in Cripple Creek would not “significantly increase cannabis use” locally.

“They see it as if no one in this area is using cannabis today,” he previously told The Gazette. People he and other petition collectors have spoken to who already use the drug say they buy it in Pueblo or Manitou Springs, he said.

Allowing sales to Cripple Creek “would provide additional revenue that could provide services to address these issues,” Blakely said previously. “They plan to do it now without that revenue.”

Teller County Commission Chairman Dan Williams said there are no state regulations on the potency of marijuana, it could increase the negative health effects some users may experience.

“It’s not like beer (3.2%) or booze at 80,” he told Cripple Creek Town Council at a town hall meeting in August. “So you have no idea what’s going to happen to people who come here.”

Voters will also have to choose whether or not to approve of a proposed 5% excise tax imposed on unprocessed medical and retail marijuana as well as processed products. It is proposed that funds from this tax be directed to the city’s general fund, with 25% of all marijuana excise tax revenue going to promote the city’s tourism marketing.

It is possible that voters approve of the sale of recreational marijuana, but reject the excise tax.

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Carol N. Valencia