Election

Twelve Colorado Towns Voted on Retail Marijuana Sales and Taxes

Twelve Colorado Towns Voted on Retail Marijuana Sales and Taxes
Scott Lentz
Marijuana wasn't a statewide issue in the November 3 election, but cannabis-related issues did appear on a dozen local ballots.

Twelve towns voted on marijuana sales or tax issues (or both) this week. Unofficial results show that eight communities approved allowing retail pot businesses within their borders, while two towns rejected that possibility, and two more okayed special sales taxes on commercial marijuana transactions.

Most of the towns voting on commercial marijuana proposals were small, but three were in metro Denver, and outdoor hotspots Winter Park and Buena Vista considered pot ballot initiatives, as well.

Here's how those marijuana votes went:


Lakewood




After only allowing medical marijuana sales for a decade, Lakewood will soon permit recreational marijuana sales; there are currently nine medical dispensaries in the town of over 158,000 people. Lakewood City Council will be responsible for ironing out local regulations, such as hours of operation, for the recreational marijuana businesses.

Just under 66 percent of Lakewood's voters approved an ordinance allowing existing medical marijuana businesses, new pot stores and growing operations to apply for recreational licenses, according to unofficial results from Jefferson County that show 99 percent of ballots have been counted.

Littleton




The same group pushing recreational marijuana in Lakewood spearheaded a campaign in Littleton. Littleton City Council will be responsible for crafting local regulations — but unlike Lakewood's measure, the Littleton ordinance will only allow the town's three current medical marijuana dispensaries to apply for recreational sales.

Littleton's unofficial results currently show that 65 percent of voters have approved the ordinance.

Broomfield




Earlier this year, Broomfield City Council decided to let a moratorium banning recreational marijuana dispensaries and grows expire. However, in order for cannabis businesses to operate, the town must have a tax system in place — and under the Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights, the new sales tax had to be approved by Broomfield voters.

With more than 90 percent of the ballots counted, unofficial results from the City and County of Broomfield show that over 58.5 percent of voters approved the sales tax, a 4 percent rate on recreational pot products. (Because of an error in the ballot measure's language that incorrectly predicted the maximum amount of tax revenue that retail marijuana sales would earn, the actual tax revenue haul will be capped at $2.2 million annually during the first fiscal year of sales.)

Winter Park




Residents of Winter Park didn't vote on whether to allow commercial marijuana within their borders — the pot industry remains banned from the popular ski town — but nearly 65 percent of Winter Park voters approved a measure placing a 5 percent sales tax on retail marijuana if the town ever goes to pot. Until the town council opts into the marijuana industry, though, there will be no dispensaries in Winter Park.

According to the Sky-Hi News, the Winter Park City Council will discuss the possibility of welcoming marijuana sales (something the council has shunned in the past) during a November 17 meeting.
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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