Election

Fifteen Colorado Towns and Counties Voted on Marijuana Issues in the 2021 Election

Golden's lone medical marijuana dispensary may have a chance to offer recreational sales after the 2021 election results are finalized.
Golden's lone medical marijuana dispensary may have a chance to offer recreational sales after the 2021 election results are finalized. Courtesy of Golden Alternative Medicine
Update: The marijuana-related ballot initiatives in Golden and Idaho Springs have both officially passed.

While Proposition 119 appeared on every Colorado ballot in the November election, voters in fifteen towns and counties — including Denver — had to vote on their own pot-related proposals,  and some of the races were tight.

A year after Lakewood voters approved recreational marijuana sales, the Lakewood City Council put an initiative on the ballot that would have created special marijuana sales and excise taxes similar to those in many municipalities that allow recreational pot sales. The special marijuana taxes would have been set at 5 percent, but the City of Lakewood would have had the right to raise the tax up to 10 percent without further voter approval. Like Prop 119, though, this measure failed, with over 58 percent of voters rejecting it, according to unofficial results from Jefferson County.

Westminster voters approved an initiative that would have allowed recreational sales, but the town won’t be getting dispensaries any time soon. Under the proposals crafted by Westminster City Council earlier this year, pot shops could only come to town if voters approved a separate measure creating a special sales tax of 5 percent on pot sales. And they didn’t.

Golden also had two proposals involving marijuana. One that proposed allowing recreational marijuana sales in the town was ahead by less than a 1 percent margin with a few days left of ballot counting, according to unofficial results from Jefferson County. However, a second ballot question proposing a 6 percent special sales and excise tax on potential recreational pot sales was approved by a wide margin.


In perhaps the closest race in all of Colorado, a measure overhauling marijuana excise taxes in Idaho Springs in order to base them off wholesale rates won by one vote , according to unofficial results — but there could be a recount.

Brighton voters considered repealing the town’s ban on recreational marijuana sales and creating a 4 percent special sales tax at dispensaries. Over 53 percent of voters rejected the measure, however, leaving Brighton on a shrinking list of Denver suburbs that don’t allow commercial pot.

Lamar, a Prowers County town located just over thirty minutes from the Kansas border, approved two ballot questions that would permit medical and recreational marijuana businesses while creating special sales and excise taxes on recreational pot sales and transactions.

Voters in Mead and Wellington rejected proposals to allow marijuana businesses. Wray, the seat of Yuma County, rejected a ballot question proposing that the town allow marijuana product manufacturing facilities within its borders. Yuma, another Yuma County town, rejected a proposed 5 percent excise tax on marijuana. A ballot question proposing a 1.5 percent marijuana excise tax in Fort Lupton was rejected as well.


Proposals to increase marijuana excise taxes were successful in Mesa County and the city of Las Animas, where voters okayed 5 percent bumps. A proposed Saguache County ordinance raising medical and recreational marijuana sales taxes by 5 percent was also passed.
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Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.
Contact: Thomas Mitchell