With the passage of Amendment 64 in 2012, Florence City Council continues to mull whether to allow recreational retail marijuana facilities within its city limits. During a workshop Monday, several people spoke in favor of it, but no one spoke against it. Amendment 64 states any person 21 and older can legally under Colorado law possess, use and grow up to six plants for their own personal use or share it with their families as long as they are not selling it. It also has all the guidelines for certain requirements, including the licensing structure to be in place no later than July 1 of this year and applications for licensing of retail recreational marijuana started Oct. 1.
During the workshop, Manfred Bereuter stated the rest of the world is viewing the cannabis opportunities that are centered around Colorado. So far, the Arc View Investment Company met with 75 investors pledging $50,000 for cannabis investment. They see this as a viable investment.
“Are we going to put up the open for business sign or not,” Bereuter asked. “If not, they’re going elsewhere. There’s not a whole lot of cities that has said yes to it. I hope you realize that the ship has already sailed on this. Legalized marijuana is a reality in Colorado.”
In the past, the council and residents have talked about how to move Florence forward, but the ideas have not panned out.
“I hope council realizes the economic issue we are facing in Florence is very, very serious,” Bereuter said. “This is one of the opportunities that is going to come along once in our lifetime and I feel it’s not only in the best interest of Florence, but it also in your duty as elected public servants to move forward on what the voters very clearly asked for.”
In the same view, Mike Vendetti agreed recreational marijuana would be a good fit for Florence.
“It’s about money and it’s legal,” he said. “We need to move ahead with (Amendment) 64.”
If it is voted in, Colorado’s personal income tax would be increased by an estimated 8 to 18 percent while Question 1A would add 1 percent to Florence’s sales tax, increasing it 14.5 percent from 6.9 to 7.9 percent.
In the meantime, a yes vote on Proposition 1A would increase it to 15 percent excise tax on wholesale recreational marijuana sales and a 10 percent sales tax on retail recreational marijuana sales.
“These are sin taxes, which do not affect me unless I use the facilities,” Vendetti said. “I find it difficult to be in favor of Amendment 66 or Question 1A. We’re just adding another tax burden that will affect me directly since Fremont County has chosen to reject income they would receive from allowing a legal, yet controversial and high revenue industry to operate in our back yard. They should not come to me for their shortfall.”
He cited a well-regulated industry medical marijuana consisting of recreational marijuana stores, medical marijuana stores, retail marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana processing facilities, retail marijuana products manufacturing facilities and retail marijuana testing facilities.
“These businesses do not have to be in our downtown,” Vendetti said. “I suggest you go through with the annexation of (U.S.) 50 and (Colo.) 67 to use it for cannabis.”
If the council moves to license the industries within the Florence City limits, then it could improve sidewalks and streets, educational and other programs.
A Florence resident whose legal name is Makara said she was concerned with the misconceptions about taxes.
“The excise tax has nothing to do with Florence,” she said. “The excise tax is not what’s taken from here for our roads and our schools. The excise tax was voted on in Amendment 64. It’s the 15 percent excise tax on the wholesale of pot so the people who grow it are selling it to the people who are going to sell it. That is wholesale. Fifteen percent of that is what will go to the schools.
“You don’t have to vote yes to get that money for your schools,” Makara said. “I have not read anything …. that if we don’t say yes that we don’t get that money for the schools.”
She noted there should not be a limit on the number of facilities in Florence.
“I think they should be right smack anywhere an owner wants to put them,” Makara said. “You don’t tell an antique store they have to be out at the airport,” she said. “You don’t tell a bar or a restaurant they have to be over by the county line. How is a retail marijuana (facility) supposed to bring more business to the antique stores and restaurants if it’s on the edge of town. How is that going to benefit the rest of the businesses in Florence?”
Councilwoman Nichole Prickett said she talked to City Clerk Dori Williams, who told her there were no other issues to be placed on the 2014 ballot.
“Since there is nothing else, it would cost us about $4,000 to put it on the ballot,” she said.
You must be logged in to post a comment.