FLORENCE — After a 3-3 vote June 2 to proceed with regulating recreational marijuana, the Florence City Council on Monday voted 4-3 during its meeting to prohibit all marijuana facilities.
The council members who voted to prohibit marijuana facilities were Mel Edwards, Sveltana Piltingsrud, Anthony Martinez and Paul Villagrana while Charlette Henager, Larry Baker and Keith Ore voted no.
The council members also voted to cancel the workshop July 7. However, the second reading to prohibit all marijuana facilities would be on the agenda that night so people could still state their opinion.
“I would urge you for us to have the workshop to get more education,” Henager said. “We already have a workshop scheduled for July 7. We should wait until then before we vote.”
Piltingsrud said she had knocked on doors in her ward, where many of the voters are against having recreational marijuana in Florence.
Villagrana said he also had visited people in his ward, where the majority of them said they were against it, as well.
Henager said unless the council members do a survey of everyone, it’s not an actual count.
“Right now, the sales are being made and we’re not getting any revenue,” she said. “I think they would (buy) it legally if (they had some place to buy it).”
Piltingsrud said if they are growing it in their backyard, they would probably continue doing it anyway and would not buy it from any retail store.
Even though the workshop has been cancelled, Patterson said from a staff position, they wanted it resolved.
“This is very much legal,” he said. “I don’t know if we gave everybody a chance to come in to give their opinion. If you vote yes, you’re theoretically ending the discussion.”
During the visitors section, Mike Vendetti said the potential sales tax revenue would be a boom for Florence.
“It could generate 1.5 percent from the state, which gives us 4 percent,” he said during the visitors section. “For every $10,000 in sales of recreational marijuana, the city would collect $900 in sales tax.”
Penrose resident Stephanie Luck asked Vendetti if he had any data on the impact of selling marijuana. She asked if revenue increases, that would be wonderful, but if it causes social services to increase, then what is the gain for the community?
Florence resident Dick Upton said he also wondered what are the other side affects in regards to marijuana.
“There is increased enforcement,” he said. “There are a lot of other issues, (including more overtime, costs for Department for Human Services and other issues).”
Larry Luck, of Penrose, said they researched the issues in Pueblo West.
“You’re really not going to get any revenue,” he said. “For every $1 you get in revenue, you’re going to pay $10 for social services. There’s nothing positive about marijuana. The only positive I think what you see is revenue.”
He asked the council to look at the figures before making a final decision.
“I don’t see where this will help,” Luck said. “We’re already in a depressed economy. I implore you. I beg you to look at this because (before you make a final decision).”