Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.
Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.
Medical-marijuana dispensaries are now putting hundreds of thousands of dollars a month into state and city treasuries in Colorado.
So far this year, the state has collected more than $2.2 million in sales tax from dispensaries. In Denver, which has more dispensaries than any other city in Colorado, the businesses have also paid more than $2.2 million this year in local sales tax. Colorado Springs has collected about $380,000 in local sales tax.
"It's just another excellent example that shows that medical marijuana isn't just amazing for patients but it's also productive for non-patients — for neighborhoods and cities," said Betty Aldworth, the executive director of the pro-dispensary industry group Coloradans for Medical Marijuana Regulation.
The money is certainly welcomed in government budget offices across Colorado, which have struggled to keep the books balanced during the recession. But, in the overall budget picture, the infusion is little more than a speck. Colorado, for instance, took in more than $1.8 billion in sales-tax money during the fiscal year that closed at the end of June, according to the governor's Office of State Planning and Budgeting.
In Colorado Springs, dispensaries represented 0.5 percent of the city's October sales-tax revenue. In Denver, they are on pace to be about 0.7 percent of the city's projected $417 million in sales-tax revenues this year. By comparison, restaurants — the city's sales tax champs — bring in about $6 million per month, city budget director Ed Scholz said.
"So it's not a significant amount of money," Scholz said.
Still, medical-marijuana advocates said the revenues show that their industry deserves a place in local economies.