Marijuana

Marijuana: Eighteen Disputed Ballots to Decide if One Colorado Town Will Allow Rec Pot

As our William Breathes reported earlier this week, Manitou Springs voters approved recreational marijuana sales in their town, while residents of other communities turned thumbs-down. The folks in Palisade, on Colorado's Western Slope, are somewhere in-between on the issue, at least for now. A recreational-pot measure appeared to narrowly lose, but that result could be reversed depending on what happens with eighteen disputed ballots. Photos, video and details below.

See also: Marijuana: Manitou Springs Votes for Rec Pot Sales, Other Towns Don't

Many communities on the Western Slope, including Grand Junction, have nixed marijuana outlets, be they medical or recreational. However, Palisade has long been an outlier. Back in 2011, we reported about the town's rejection of an MMJ ban that would have nixed its only dispensary, Colorado Alternative Health Care. Desa Loughman, CAHC's owner, suggested at the time that her business received support because of its low-key approach.

"We definitely try to set ourselves apart," she said. "When we advertise, we avoid all the skinny little girls with pot leaves on their chest -- the things that don't say 'medicinal' -- and try to stay away from all the negative stereotypes that fall onto our industry."

Now, Loughman would like to add recreational sales to the mix. But two linked ballot measures that would have allowed such a transition appeared to fall short during Tuesday's election. KJCT reports the current tally at 525 for, 529 against -- a difference of four votes.

But that's not the final word.

According to the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder, eighteen votes from Palisade remain unopened because of questions regarding signatures. Either they lack such scrawls entirely or there's another discrepancy.

These ballots aren't simply being tossed or disregarded. Instead, each of the eighteen voters is being contacted in an effort to "cure" the ballots -- meaning to get them up to legal specifications.

The impacted voters have until November 12 to respond. After that, the properly cured ballots will be opened and counted, and the resulting tally will either allow recreational marijuana sales in Palisade, as in Manitou Springs, or prohibit it, as is the case with communities such as Ouray and Lakewood.

Continue to see the KJCT report about the delayed count.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts