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Marijuana: Will recreational pot live or die in Colorado Springs?

While Denver City Council members seem to be on track for allowing recreational marijuana stores within city limits, their compatriots in Colorado Springs aren't nearly as far along. If it were up to Colorado Springs mayor Steve Bach, there wouldn't be any recreational sales in his city: Bach has been outspoken in his opposition of Amendment 64. But the Springs City Council also has six new members, three of whom say they would favor allowing stores, two of whom want a ban, and one who's undecided at the moment.

The city is seeing strong opposition from the local military segment. Fort Carson Commander Major General Paul LeCamera has openly called for a citywide ban in Colorado Springs. "I told the mayor, it goes against good order and discipline," LeCamera told the Pueblo Chieftain.

Pueblo's city council has already approved a one-year moratorium. According to the Chieftain, the base is currently being considered for a 3,000-troop expansion -- but Fort Carson leaders say that legalized marijuana sales might discourage the Army from expanding the base.

A potential loss of jobs is a major talking point for the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. The group, which promotes the city to businesses looking to relocate, says the legalization laws have chilled talks with a few clients.

But supporters of recreational sales point out that the same argument was made against medical marijuana sales, and there was no loss of jobs or businesses. "Medical marijuana has brought jobs to the community," new councilmember Jill Gaebler told the Gazette. "There are already some social clubs (for recreational marijuana), and I want them to prosper. It's a growing market we should pursue." Gaebler has said she will support retail sales.

According to state records, El Paso County, which includes Colorado Springs, saw more than $35 million in retail medical cannabis sales in 2012, netting nearly $1 million in tax revenue.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: Councilman on plan to weed out 'idiots' from Denver pot industry."


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