Allen Hischke: Don’t pass up money
Some people have been asking why the City Council continues to revisit the recreational marijuana issue after the many defeats. Here are my reasons for this, even though I am not involved with it.
I think the reason that the City Council continues to revisit the recreational marijuana idea, is because they see this as a way to get free money for the city/county. Our city and county both are in desperate need for more revenue.
Steamboat made about 12 million dollars in recreational pot sales this year. Craig should be able to grab about half of this. I think we should be able get half of that amount is because the people from Baggs, Meeker, and Craig that currently shop for these items in Steamboat would begin to shop for them in Craig. That might be enough for the city to donate money and fully fund our library, without raising taxes one penny.
From 6 million dollars in sales, if you use the same 4% tax figure that Steamboat uses, that comes to $240,000.00. Not a figure to be sneezed at in an area as depressed as this one.
Along with this people would buy food, gasoline, and other things they might want or need while here making their pot purchases. Giving other businesses a shot at sales as well.
I have heard some people argue that this will bring unwelcome side effects to our town. I have to disagree with this because Steamboat has been taking advantage of this free source of cash since it was made legal. So far I have seen nothing in the Steamboat paper about anything negative from this. I do recall an article where the Steamboat police said they had less problems with the pot users that they did with the drinkers.
Do not condemn this form of revenue just because you are afraid of it, or because it is something new you do not understand, or because of things you have heard. Give this a chance. If it turns out to be a negative thing then it can be voted out. But I believe this industry needs to be given a chance of at least 3 to 5 years to prove itself either good or bad. If it turns out to be a bad thing I will cast the first vote to repeal it.
If you can think of some other form of free money for our town that does not include recreational marijuana, then please speak up. We would all love to hear your ideas. But recreational marijuana is the only free money I have heard of in a long time.