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Jun 27, 2013 11:38 PM by Tony Spehar - tspehar@koaa.com

City Council holds town hall on retail marijuana sales in Colorado Springs

The Colorado Springs City Council held a town hall meeting on Thursday evening to hear resident's opinion on allowing retail marijuana sales in the city.

As part of Amendment 64, which allows recreational marijuana use and retail sales in Colorado, local governments are allowed to ban sales within their jurisdiction.  Monument and Woodland Park have already banned sales.  At Thursday's town hall the council heard from experts and residents for and against allowing sales in Colorado Springs.

Supporters of retail sales marched to city hall holding signs, they argue that allowing sales would take marijuana off the black market and increase revenue from sales taxes.  According to them the medical marijuana industry has already shown the potential benefit of marijuana legalization without none of the problems predicted by those opposed to marijuana sales and use.

"The City Council has in their power to tax and regulate, we've heard all these arguments before three-years ago and the sky has not fallen," explained KC Stark, a local businessman.  "There's 86 small businesses here that did not exist three-years ago, those are 86 American businesses that pay their taxes."

Those opposed to allowing retail sales included Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey who said allowing retail sales would make his department even busier responding to drug related calls and issues at the stores themselves as well as increasing the use of marijuana.

Local business owners who work with the military also expressed concern, they believe allowing retail sales in Colorado Springs would negatively affect the city when military leaders decide where to station troops.  They argue that concerns about moral and operations would cause military officials to decide to station less personnel in the area, which would hurt the local economy.

"If marijuana is one of the things that military commanders tell us has an impact on their troops, that could potentially cause us to lose forces in Colorado Springs," explained businessman Bill Clark, who works with the military.  "We're very, very concerned that marijuana is a discriminator in terms of forces being assigned to the military bases here."

Council members have stated that they wish to make a final decision on recreational sales by the end of July.

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