The largest city in Colorado to ban marijuana sales just voted to lift the ban and allow lucrative pot shops.
The city council of Thornton, the sixth largest city in Colorado, just voted five to four to allow marijuana dispensaries, The Denver Post reported Tuesday.
The move was partially borne of financial necessity.
“Yes, part of it comes down to money,” Councilman Joshua Zygielbaum told The Denver Post. “We need to take care of our community.”
The city will allow four dispensaries, which are estimated to bring in around $2 million in needed revenue. The city will begin accepting applications for the pot shops Sept. 1.
There are 85 Colorado cities that have some type of ban on pot shops, despite marijuana being legal. There are 54 cities that allow for the shops, accounting for Thornton and a couple other cities who have recently lifted such bans.
Some residents of Thornton were not pleased about the vote.
One resident, during public comments in the council chamber, said she wished the measure had gone to ballot rather than the city council “making the decision for us.”
Another resident said money should not be a reason to lift the ban.
“I don’t get motivated just because of money,” Michele Gerbrandt told The Denver Post. “I don’t see anything positive that comes out of retail marijuana.”
The council asked the audience to physically show who supported or opposed the decision by standing up — 48 supported, 109 opposed.
Scientific American reported in June that pot use among teens has actually dropped slightly since legalizing marijuana. The Colorado Department of Public Health releases a bi-annual survey on that topic, and found that while 22 percent of high school students smoked it in 2011, that number had dropped to 21.2 percent in 2015. The national average for put use among high schoolers is 21.7 percent.
Colorado’s pot industry is booming and on pace to top $1 billion in total sales this year, raking in nearly $600 million in the first six months of 2016.
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