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 Puebl
o 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.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.