DENVER (CBS4) – There’s a chance Denver will opt out of Amendment 64 despite the fact voters in the city overwhelmingly approved legalizing marijuana.
Some members of the city council argue that while the majority of Denver voters said yes to the amendment, it was in an effort to decriminilize small amounts. Their intentions may not have been to have a marijuana store in their neighborhood.
“There are a lot of safety issues as it relates to that, tremendous safety issues,” Denver Police Chief Robert White told council members at a committee meeting on Monday night.
White highlighted the concerns and issues the department has seen in recent years in dealing with medical marijuana. However, he also said Amendment 64 will be looked at as just another ordinance in the city that will come with its own issues.
“Are we going to go out and look for people that are violating recreational marijuana in light of all the other challenges we have, I would say that’s not going to be a priority of ours,” White said.
White said the city has seen an increase in crime like burglaries since the introduction of medical marijuana.
“The trend shows us that there are increased crimes around our city that we have to be prepared for,” White said.
Crime is one downfalls, but on the upside, medical marijuana has brought in a lot of revenue in the form of sales tax.
“$4.6 million last year, now when we opened the doors — if you will — to recreational marijuana, those numbers are only going to go one way and that’s up,” said City Councilman Charlie Brown.
Still, weighing the benefits also means weighing the costs and weighing what the voters have already decided.
“The voters in this city overwhelmingly voted for medical marijuana and recreational marijuana and we have to deal with that as a city,” Brown said.
Denver’s city council will tentatively vote on whether to opt in or out of 64 in April.
At that time they will also vote on whether to allow any marijuana smoking facilities, similar to bars or lounges.