Pueblo Voters Will Vote on Whether to Ban Retail Shops in the City

Money from marijuana is helping keep Pueblo's budget out of the red, but in November, that green could dry up.

In a 6-to-1 vote on Monday, August 8, Pueblo City Council determined that residents should be allowed to decide whether to stop licensing recreational marijuana store . Initially, recreational pot shops were only legal outside of Pueblo city limits, but voters decided to allow retail shops to operate in Pueblo a year ago. 

Two measures regarding recreational marijuana will be on the Pueblo ballot. The first will decide whether recreational dispensaries can operate within city limits, and the second will address taxing the sale of retail marijuana. The proposed tax would start at 4.3 percent and could be raised or lowered at the discretion of Pueblo City Council — if such sales are still allowed in Pueblo, that is.

According to Pueblo County's 2015 budget, money from medical marijuana licenses, retail marijuana licenses, and planning and development application fees brought in $495,000 last year. As reported by KRDO, that money accounted for a large portion of the county's general fund and paid the salaries of 31 people. 

Citizens for Healthy Pueblo spent the past few months lobbying city council to put their measure on the ballot. "Pueblo should be about reducing, not promoting, marijuana use," the group proclaims. "We believe voters will agree."

The vote would not affect retail shops outside of Pueblo city limits.
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Kate McKee Simmons interned at the National Catholic Reporter, was a reporter for the New York Post, and spent a brief stint in Israel learning international reporting before writing for Westword.