Jan 12, 2012 12:35 AM by John Romero

Medical marijuana industry bringing in sales tax dollars

After just less than three years of business in the City of Colorado Springs, the medical marijuana industry says they're doing pretty well. "We're seeing good, steady growth." says shop owner Scott Saunders. He and his partner own two medical marijuana dispensaries in town, including MC Caregivers near Academy and Vickers. "We're seeing new patients and talking to new people. We're getting new patients every month. It's good.'

The industry has the numbers to back it up too. In this tax revenue document from the city, you can see the medical marijuana industry is growing year after year. In 2011, they posted a sales tax growth of nearly 50%. "The numbers have come in about $710,000 we've collected which is a significant increase over our 2010 numbers. It's about a 45% increase or approximately $221,000." explains Lisa Bigelow, the City Budget Manager for Colorado Springs.

Saunders points to increased state and local regulation as a possible reason for the growth. "The state MMAD has done a great job, I think, of regulating and providing a legitimate structure within which we can operate." he says. Saunders believes the regulation can help legitimize his business, and also erase some of the social stigma that may come with it. "We continue to see patients that are new to the idea of cannabis being medicine." he explains.

By no means is medical marijuana an economic juggernaut. In fact it only represents about 1% of the city sales taxes collected. But businessmen like Saunders point to the upward trend as a hopeful sign for the industry in 2012. "We are excited about the opportunity." he says, "We're definitely going to be looking to grow and expand in 2012, no question."



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