Faust: Breckenridge marijuana fears unfounded
Over the past couple of weeks numerous letters to the editor have been submitted regarding the special advisory election this Tuesday regarding allowing retail marijuana stores to continue to operate on Main Street. Nearly all of the letters have been opposing continued operation, and they generally fit into two categories. First, that allowing retail marijuana stores on Main Street would lead to increased consumption of marijuana by minors because it would normalize it. Second, that it would hurt Breckenridge’s family appeal and would lead to decreases in tourism revenue.
There is no evidence to support either of those predictions. However, the idea that legalization will lead to increases in use is relatively easily dispelled. Preliminary data from the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (a joint collaboration several government entities) has shown that since recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado, teen usage has actually decreased.
As to whether or not retail marijuana will hurt Breckenridge’s family atmosphere and lead to decreased revenue is another matter. It may result in more tourists visiting Breckenridge, or it may result in fewer visitors, hurting other tourism driven businesses.
Let us pretend that allowing retail marijuana to remain on Main Street will actually hurt existing businesses like the photography company I own. Then let me pose this question: should it matter? What I mean to say is, do we want the government to decide on which businesses should have the benefit of a Main Street location and which ones should not? If that is the role we decide government should have, why stop with marijuana stores? Let’s move Realtors off Main Street to make more room for restaurants. We can ban t-shirt shops that sell shirts with off-colored jokes.
If I didn’t know better, this would look like a few businesses looking for legislated protectionism.
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