Voting is over, and the results are in. Read on to find out how cannabis initiatives fared in this year’s Colorado elections.
Colorado voters rejected a statewide ballot measure that would have increased the sales tax on recreational marijuana. Proposition 119 would have increased recreational marijuana sales tax by 5 percent to fund private after-school and tutoring programs. The initiative failed by 54.41 percent to 45.59 percent.
Peter Marcus, a spokesman for Boulder-based cannabis company Terrapin, said Proposition 119 was a “misguided policy.”
“Despite being significantly outspent by proponents, Colorado voters still soundly rejected using cannabis as a piggy bank for out-of-state special interest projects. Coloradans understand that lawmakers struck an appropriate balance when they planned for cannabis taxes. Disrupting that system would only set successful regulation back. We can’t balance the state budget and education on the backs of cannabis consumers; we need long-term solutions that address structural deficiencies,” Marcus said after Proposition 119’s defeat.
In Denver, another marijuana sales tax increase was on the ballot. Initiative 300 would have increased the recreational cannabis sales tax by 1.5 percent to fund pandemic research at the University of Colorado Denver City Center.
“Denver voters recognized that this measure — funded by an out-of-town billionaire — taxes people’s pain relief to pay for a random, pandemic preparation program that has no accountability, no oversight, no specific solutions, no connection to the marijuana industry and no relationship to core city services. We are hopeful that the city’s business community will oppose any future efforts to increase taxes on the Denver cannabis industry just as they would for any other industry in the city,” Chuck Smith of the cannabis business organization Colorado Leads told Westword.
An out-of-state special interest group funded the initiative, and CU Denver was not involved in getting the measure on the ballot. The vote was no/against the initiative by 60.35 percent to 39.65 percent.
By a slim 58.68 percent to 49.60 percent margin, voters in Golden decided to lift the moratorium on recreational marijuana dispensaries in the city. Cannabis cultivation, extraction, and manufacturing are still a no-no in city limits. Still, marijuana sales will finally be a reality in Golden after the city council drafts and implements rules.
However, it doesn’t look like adult-use marijuana dispensaries will be coming to Westminster anytime soon. Despite voting “yes” on allowing retail marijuana in the city by 53 percent, voters said “no” to a separate tax measure tied to the initiative.
Brighton was a definite “no” on repealing the ban on recreational marijuana sales. Voters rejected the measure by 53 percent.
Lakewood’s sales tax on recreational marijuana will remain at 19.6 percent after voters rejected a measure to increase the tax rate by an additional 5 percent. If the initiative had passed, the City of Lakewood would have been able to increase the tax on adult-use marijuana by up to 10 percent without further voter approval.
It turns out that 3 wasn’t a magic number in Mead, where voters rejected a ban on medical and recreational marijuana sales for the third time since 2013. 61 percent of voters rejected the measure.
There was better cannabis election news in Lamar, where voters approved two marijuana-related measures. 54 percent of voters approved Ballot Measure 2B, legalizing recreational marijuana sales. 55 percent of voters approved Ballot Measure 2A for a 5 percent local tax on adult-use cannabis sales.
In Wellington, the vote on Initiative 2B is still too close to call. As in, a 3-vote difference too close to call. The initiative would allow medical and recreational sales in Wellington. With a total of 3,341 votes counted so far, 1,672 voters said “yes,” while 1,669 voters said “no” to the measure.
However, it’s not so close when it comes to Initiative 300, the vote on whether to implement a 3.5 percent sales tax on adult-use marijuana purchases. The initiative looks like it will pass, with 231 “yes” votes in the lead.