Font ResizeSean Maher: Should Boulder municipalize retail marijuana?By Sean Maher, For the Cameradailycamera.comPosted:
03/31/2013 04:49:04 PM MDTMarch 31, 2013 10:54 PM GMTUpdated:
03/31/2013 04:53:38 PM MDTSean Maher (PAUL AIKEN)
I don't smoke pot.
I tried it in college, but never cared for it. My social drug of choice has always come in a bottle and not a bag.
However, almost 30 years after I tried marijuana for the last time, I still have friends who enjoy it on a regular basis and they have convinced me that it is no better or worse than alcohol. It is just different,chanel bags 2013
,according to the AIA and MaxPreps websites.
. And the biggest difference has always been that one was legal and the other was not.
Last November that changed in a big way. And now, like all cities in Colorado, Boulder is wrestling with how to handle recreational marijuana.
Is the passage of Amendment 64 a gift or a curse?
Will legalized pot create an economic windfall for the city with new tax revenues or drain the coffers with increased demand for police, regulatory and social service resources? Will our hotels and restaurants profit from a whole new market of tourists who prefer pot to alcohol? Or will the Pearl Street Mall be overrun with people who come here just to smoke pot while more traditional visitors stay away?
How will Denver and the rest of the Front Range handle Amendment 64 and how will their decisions affect Boulder? Now that it is legal to grow your own plants,Longchamp
, how many people will choose that option and have no need to purchase it from the neighborhood pot store,true religion jeans outlet
? How do we regulate retail distribution to maximize benefits and minimize problems that we have not even thought of yet?
One big idea that surfaced recently is way outside the box and I am honestly not sure whether it is brilliant or crazy. But it is definitely worth discussing.
The idea is really quite simple: Municipalize the retail sale of recreational pot in Boulder.
Before you dismiss the concept as completely nuts, think about the precedent that has been set in the liquor industry. There are currently 18 states where either city or state governments control retail sales of alcohol. New Hampshire, Minnesota and Utah are just a few examples. If alcohol and pot are indeed similar, why can't Boulder handle pot like other places handle booze?
The next question is why municipalize pot? One reason is control.
Currently, the medical marijuana market in Boulder is roughly $20 million per year and we have about 30 dispensaries. No one really knows how big the market will be once any adult can purchase marijuana. But many are concerned that pot outlets will proliferate and push out local retailers. Could there be a cluster of them downtown on Pearl and is that OK?
One thing is sure. Licensing, monitoring and enforcement for a bunch of new outlets will be costly and cumbersome. If recreational pot sales were controlled by the city, there might be just two or three municipal pot stores in strategic locations,Both made you sick. Only one made you angry.
. Control and enforcement would be a snap and you would not have to worry about a pot store popping up down the street from your house or your kid's school.
Another reason is revenue. Let's be conservative and estimate that recreational pot sales will be twice the current medical market. That is roughly $40 million. I'm not sure what the profit margin is but,chanel bags
, if it is standard retail markup, the city would enjoy up to $20 million in profit every year plus another few million in sales taxes,celine handbag
With all that new revenue, the city could hire more police officers and fund drug and alcohol education. We could eliminate our transportation funding crisis, fix up the Civic Area and probably have enough left over to buy Eco-Passes for every resident.
So there would be some huge advantages to municipal pot in Boulder. Of course, there are also a dozen legal and political hurdles that would probably make it difficult or impossible to pull off,true religion Outlet
. Even so,true religion brand jeans
, it is certainly a very "Boulder" idea that seems worth thinking about.
Sean Maher is executive director of the Downtown Boulder Business Improvement District and Downtown Boulder Inc. The views expressed here are his own and not representative of either organization. He can be reached at ,celine handbags