COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – At the two malls in town you can buy key chains and Christmas ornaments shaped like marijuana leaves. Along a downtown shopping corridor, paintings of cannabis plants grace storefront windows.
Even Kmart stocks its shelves with T-shirts and mugs decorated with the signature green leaf and “Colorado est. 2012” — the year the state legalized recreational marijuana.
But that is the one pot product you can’t buy in Colorado Springs.
When Coloradans voted overwhelmingly to make non-medical marijuana legal, they left it up to cities whether to allow sales. Colorado Springs, home to five military bases and known for its conservative politics and religious values, blocked recreational cannabis sales. Now some in town want to change that, saying the state’s second largest city is missing out on sales taxes that are enriching cities across Colorado.
Similar debates are already happening in cities in California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada — states that passed legalization measures last year. Recently, the Los Angeles City Council, eager to pull in new tax revenue, crafted rules for recreational marijuana sales that will begin in January.