Telluride’s budding love of cannabis

No problems but strong tax revenues from 4 cannabis retailers in Telluride

3.5% to 4% of this year’s sales taxes revenues

TELLURIDE, Colo. – The experience of Telluride is that marijuana sales, first for medical-card holders and now for recreational use, are no problem. The town has four stores, all of them located in the general business district.

“We have found we are not having anything negative to speak of,” says Mayor Stu Fraser.

Telluride Medical Bud Co.The four stores have generated considerable tax revenues, probably reaching $300,000 to $350,000 by year’s end, or 3.5 to 4 percent of Telluride’s projected $6 million to $7 million in sales tax revenues for 2014. Telluride this year had a 10 percent gain on last year, itself a record year.

Telluride had no qualms about allowing medical marijuana dispensaries in 2009. Come Colorado’s 2012 vote, Telluride was tops in the state in its plurality in support of complete legalization, with 80+ percent in favor.

“We had a very smooth transition from medical to recreational,” Fraser reports. Stores are permitted to be on street level, although all four happen to be in upstairs locations.

Problems? A couple of dogs got into edibles.

Unlike a recent report for Colorado altogether, no more people are smoking marijuana in public than before, and the treatment is the same as for somebody drinking a beer outside the Sheridan Hotel.

Anecdotally, there’s some evidence that visitors have picked Telluride for vacations because of the availability of marijuana, but only within the framework of a matrix of criteria. Cannabis, itself, is not the top draw.

“We are not seeing bunches of people coming in from Arizona to get high,” says Fraser.

This is from the December 30, 2014, issue of Mountain Town News. Sample copies available upon request.

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About Allen Best

Allen Best is a Colorado-based journalist. He publishes a subscription-based e-zine called Mountain Town News, portions of which are published on the website of the same name, and also writes for a variety of newspapers and magazines.
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