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Hi, I'm Tamera, a professional wedding, portrait and boudoir photographer in Colorado Springs. But this blog isn't about my professional work; no, it's a daily love note to my beautiful city, where I've lived for most of my life. I love it here and I hope you enjoy seeing Colorado Springs through my eyes and lens!

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12 March 2015

The subject of pot

Oh yes, it's legal in Colorado, as you probably already know. You may be wondering how legalization has affected us. Medical marijuana has been legal here for a few years now, and as soon as the law passed, it seems like a LOT of local residents suddenly came down with maladies that required marijuana to alleviate their pain ;^) In fact, as far as I know, we've got more medical marijuana dispensaries per capita in Colorado Springs than anywhere else in the state, including Denver and Boulder. They are EVERYWHERE.

A couple of years ago recreational marijuana was decriminalized in Colorado, and about a year later, retail marijuana shops were officially permitted. Our city council wouldn't hear of it and immediately rejected the idea, but Manitou Springs, right next door to us, allowed one pot shop to open, Maggie's Farm, and thus far it has been a big success. (I wonder what Bob Dylan would think if he heard the name.) The sales tax rate on recreational pot is an astonishing 28%. So much tax has been collected statewide over the last year or so that our residents may actually see a tax refund. (Thank you, potheads!) This abundance of taxes will also be a big benefit to our schools. I think that's fabulous news. It's also become quite a cottage industry in Colorado, which means jobs, which is always good. And there's the fact that it's taken a bite out of the violent drug cartels in Mexico, a fact that cannot be ignored.

This is still a very new thing for all of us. Of course there is a downside. A few cannabis lounges have opened up here and there in our city, one of them in my neighborhood. I can't say I'm terribly happy about that, because 1) the gigantic, pot-themed mural on the building is absolutely hideous and does nothing for our property values -- it is anything but discreet; and 2) it does bring an element of partying to our neighborhood that didn't exist before. There wasn't any kind of warning that a lounge would be opening up in our area. I'm sure everyone in our quiet little neighborhood would have objected if we had known, but we didn't even realize what was going on until the place had already opened for business. There is also the matter of crime. The problem is that marijuana isn't technically legal when it comes to the federal government, so this makes federal taxes complicated to say the least. These establishments are strictly cash only as a result. As you can imagine, the large amounts of cash are a temptation for the criminally inclined, so break ins and armed robberies are common in this industry.

I guess in the end it remains to be seen how things will continue to develop in post-legalization Colorado. For the most part, I can cautiously say that there haven't been a lot of terribly negative repercussions, and the tax benefits seem to be a win.


Rob the frog said...

Plenty of weed shops in Barcelona as well! And in Amsterdam, where I spent 6 months last year. Not smoking that stuff myself (anymore), but you can't escape it somehow. You can't walk anywhere in Europe without smelling it.

William Kendall said...

There's a shop here that has some inside- the smell of it's nauseous to me.