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Group hopes to convince city council to put pot on ballot

Group hopes to convince city council to put pot on ballot

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A group calling itself "Every Vote Counts" met Thursday night to outline their plan to convince the Colorado Springs City Council to put pot on November's ballot.

The group said the City Council made a mistake when it turned down sales of retail marijuana within city limits. Its founder, Mark Slaugh, said people need their voices heard, and the city needs the money generated from retail marijuana sales.

Amendment 64 passed by almost 5,000 votes in Colorado Springs in November 2012. However, the Colorado Springs City Council shot down marijuana sales in a 5-4 vote.

Tax revenue is one of the reasons Slaugh wants retail marijuana on the ballot. The city will spend $2 million to fix potholes around the city. Also, if City for Champions passes, it would cost about $300 million.

"If they want to have their cake and want to eat it too, marijuana may be the answer," said Slaugh.

Every Vote Counts has two options: It can get enough signatures from voters to get a measure about retail marijuana on the ballot, or convince City Council to put it on the ballot.

"We really want City Council to take ownership, work with us," said Slaugh.

City Council President Keith King said personally, he wouldn't vote for retail marijuana. However, constituents in his district approved Amendment 64, which is why he was one of four council members who voted for retail marijuana in Colorado Springs. He said he would vote in favor of a ballot measure that would let voters decide on retail marijuana.

He said it would be in City Council's best interest to get involved in this ballot measure.

"We could decide to fix potholes with it if that was agreeable to everybody. That's probably some of the reasons why council, if we thought it was going to get on the ballot anyway, would be involved so that way we could structure how we think it should be spent," said King.

Voters in Colorado Springs shared their thoughts on the idea Thursday.

"I think voters could vote on it but I'm glad the City Council turned it down, it's a measure of common sense there," said voter Paul Isaacs.

"I believe in the taxes.  I think we can get some of those taxes and fix the potholes on Uintah," said Nicholas Vandam.

Every Vote Counts plans to present the ballot measure to City Council as soon as possible.

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