CRIPPLE CREEK — This November, voters in Cripple Creek will be deciding on legalizing recreational and medical marijuana in the town. The vote will come after a citizen’s-proposed ordinance was struck down by City Council.
Those for it say it'll bring in more tax revenue for Cripple Creek, a small town of 1,200 people. Those against it say, the town is too small to handle some of the impacts of legalization.
“There's a lot of issues involving marijuana,” said Sheriff Jason Mikesell at Wednesday night’s city council meeting.
Sheriff Mikesell was one of the many to speak out against the citizen's proposed ordinance.
“Here's the biggest issue we have in Cripple creek. We don't have the resources here to the to deal with the behavior health issues and the ambulance services said Sheriff Mikesell, who said there’s also issues on the public health side and policing side.
On July 25, the pro-marijuana group handed over nearly 400 signatures to the City Clerk's office to get the ordinance on city council's agenda.
“In that ordinance that they had written, there was a line that imposes a 5% excise tax. Well, right there, we cannot make that decision. That's a TABOR violation,” said Councilwoman Melissa Trenary.
Councilwoman Trenary said the ordinance was rejected because any taxation is a decision for the voters. City council directed the citizens to submit the ballot language for the legalization of marijuana, and also submit a separate ballot question regarding the taxation of the marijuana.
Meanwhile residents like Alex Best did sign the petition.
Those for the legalization of marijuana say it'll generate more revenue to take pressure off of casinos being the main tax source.
“The casinos got hit hard during the pandemic being closed for a while,” said Best. “Just being able to generate more revenue for the city. It's always a good thing.”
The ordinance states all revenues from the excise taxes will go to the general fund, and city council will be directed to use 25% of tax revenue to promote marketing for Cripple Creek.
“I'm hoping that it will let us get our events back in town that we've lost because the city has canceled. Having more tax money, hopefully we can regain some of those events that bring a lot of people into town that will help small businesses,” said Best.
It’s a big decision for the small town later this year.
“If it does pass on the November ballot, then council would have their work cut out for them,” said Trenary.
The ballot language will have to be approved by city council. The Cripple Creek Police Department said they'll support whatever the voters decide in November.
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