Mar 25, 2011 11:45 PM by Matt Stafford

Report shows big impact for medical marijuana in 2011

A new report from See Change Strategy says medical marijuana will be a 1.7 billion dollar industry in 2011 across the country.

"I think that's rather a low estimate," says KC Stark, an industry advocate from Colorado Springs. That's because Stark has seen how fast it's has picked up in Colorado over the last couple of years. He may have a different vantage point on the industry than people elsewhere; the report says Colorado and California together make up 92 percent of the nation's retail and sales of medical marijuana.

"The supply has gotten better the demand has gotten better; we've actually seen the price for that product go down," says Stark.

In the meantime it's helped with local sales tax revenues, Colorado Springs collected around $500,000 dollars in 2010.

"That's a lot of money," says Ken Lippincott -- a community activist in Fountain -- but it's not enough for his support.

"The tax benefit does not compare to the damage done and cost to society," Lippincott explains.

Lippincott helped to organize efforts for more restrictive medical marijuana rules in Fountain last November during the election. Similar opposition has popped up in the states with medical marijuana laws, but the industry has continued to grow. According to the report that will continue; it says the 2011 projection of 1.7 billion dollars will double in five years.

"I see it more than doubling if the laws are properly formed," says Stark; it gives him reason to be optimistic, but it's not stopping Ken Lippincott.

"I'll try to make a dent in it the appropriate process," Lippincott says. "Now we might not win, but there's going to be a voice speaking against this effort."

It's a debate, and an industry, that for now isn't slowing down.

For more information on the report by See Change Strategy, click here. If you would like to see information on Colorado Springs sales tax revenue, click here.


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