(Seth McConnell, Denver Post file)

Colorado Springs council rejects pot ballot question; petition possible

COLORADO SPRINGS — A proposed ballot measure on whether to allow recreational marijuana sales in Colorado’s second-largest city has been defeated by the Colorado Springs City Council.

The Council voted 6-3 on Tuesday against putting the question on November ballots. Colorado Springs allows medical marijuana dispensaries, but bars recreational pot sales.

The vote came after City Council President Keith King withdrew support because the measure’s backers didn’t have an accompanying tax projection. He said he could not approve the vote without knowing how much a possible city sales tax would raise, and the city’s chief financial officer said that projection would take some time.

Municipal regulations: How are other Colorado communities addressing legal marijuana?

“I had to stay true to what I ran on,” King said about his campaign promise that he would support recreational marijuana sales only if it was taxed, zoned away from schools and neighborhoods and if tax money collected on pot was spent on law enforcement and anti-pot campaigns for youth.

The vote could mean an impending citizen initiative, The Gazette reported Wednesday. A citizen initiative would require at least 19,861 voter signatures to make ballots — 20 percent of the 99,306 votes cast in the 2011 mayoral election.

Earlier this summer, a grass-roots organization, Every Vote Counts, pledged to get a citizen initiated marijuana question on the ballot. No one from the group was at Tuesday’s Council meeting.