Medical marijuana tax revenue helping Colo Springs | SkyHiNews.com

Medical marijuana tax revenue helping Colo Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) – Sales tax revenue from medical marijuana could help pay for a new police unit to monitor the business, Colorado Springs officials say.

Medical marijuana sales taxes are bringing in about $50,000 a month for the city, The Gazette of Colorado Springs reported Sunday.

The City Council is also considering a proposal to set up a four-member team in 2011 to enforce medical marijuana regulations and zoning.

“We have a whole new industry that we have to make sure it’s done safely and it’s not having an impact on quality of life in the community, as well as other crimes,” said Deputy Police Chief Pete Carey.

“We have to make sure that as it starts, we pay attention to it,” he said.

The team would include three police officers and a code-enforcement officer. The team would cost $331,000 a year and would be funded by medical marijuana sales taxes.

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It would be part of the Metro Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence task force.

Police statistics show little or no increase in illegal activities associated with medical marijuana, but Lt. John Godsey, head of the narcotics task force, said following up on reports of possible marijuana violations has taken time away from investigating narcotics dealers.

Tanya Garduno, president of Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council, said setting up a marijuana enforcement team was an overreaction.

A new state law will require regular visits by state auditors and video monitoring of marijuana dispensaries starting July 1, she said.

Triton Gulczynski, owner of Crossroads Medical Marijuana Center, welcomed closer monitoring by police.

“We want to be regulated,” said Gulczynski. “We’re all about being on the books.”

The sales taxes from medical marijuana has also helped the cash-strapped city pay for such services as mowing grass on street medians and could lead to the resumption of some Saturday bus service.

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