Faust: Hysteria over marijuana on Breckenridge’s Main Street ignores key facts
The Breckenridge Town Council is getting set to vote on whether to continue to allow retail marijuana stores to operate on Main Street. There has been a lot of passion, along with a great deal of obfuscation on the issue. First, to establish a few facts.
Fact: At least one marijuana store has been operating on Main Street for five years. If you are not aware of this, then I think it shows how little impact it has had.
Fact: In 2009, residents of Breckenridge voted to legalize marijuana possession for adults by a 3-to-1 margin (73 percent to 27 percent).
Fact: In the 2012 election, Colorado voters passed a constitutional amendment to treat marijuana like alcohol. Town-specific results are not available, but it passed in Summit County by a 2-to-1 margin (69 percent to 31 percent).
Recently there has been extremely vocal opposition to allowing retail marijuana to remain on Main Street. Most of the arguments against it are based on nothing more than supposition. The big argument is that it will hurt our tourism industry. However, both Breckenridge and Telluride have had marijuana retailers in their town cores for several years, and have seen visitation increase steadily over that time. They worry about crime related to the presence of retail marijuana, despite drops in crime rates in communities like Denver that have welcomed the stores.
In the end, I think a lot of this is irrelevant, and it comes down to a simple question: “What kind of local government do we want to have?” Do we want to have a local government that sets rules for a fair playing field for a variety of businesses to thrive. Or do we want the type of government that legislates morality and gives preferential treatment to some businesses at the expense of others?
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