A small town divided by a big issue.
Manitou Springs City Council voted on Tuesday night to move forward with putting a plan together to regulate retail marijuana.
If a person mentions recreational marijuana in Manitou Springs it will cause a stir, but if a person talks about recreational marijuana shops opening in the town, then a person will get mixed reactions.
Manny Vasquez said retail marijuana will benefit the town because it will bring in more tourists and will bring in more money because of the additional five percent sales tax slapped on it.
“People would come in for retail...sales and stay in Manitou,” Vasquez said.
But even though recreational marijuana will bring in more money, people in Manitou Springs feel it’s not worth it.
“We don't want our businesses, and the town reputation, and town atmosphere to be the experiment, the first and the only place in the area,” Shop Owner Bianca Trenker said.
She also feels Manitou Springs being marked as a recreational marijuana town will drive people away.
Mayor Marc Snyder said city council will regulate marijuana to the maximum of what the law will allow, and retail marijuana shops will not open in Downtown Manitou Springs.
Keith Aherns feels this is a vote that should have been left to the people.
“Most of them voiced the opinion please put that specific question to the ballot and let the voters of Manitou springs decide,” Aherns said.
If the sale of retail marijuana is allowed in Manitou Springs, Amendment AA will also come into effect, which is an additional 25 percent tax on the sale of recreational marijuana.