Several marijuana measures, mostly tax questions, are on ballots across the state this election season, including whether Lakewood will allow recreational shops in the city of 145,000 residents.
The Lakewood City Council voted to put the recreational marijuana question on the ballot in July after a public hearing on the subject. At the July 14 meeting, the council banned potential marijuana businesses in the city, including recreational marijuana social clubs, hash oil production, and the cultivation, manufacturing and testing of recreational marijuana.
Colorado Christian University, located in Lakewood, supports a ban on recreational marijuana shops and donated $5,000 to the anti-pot committee, which spent $4,000 on yard signs distributed to Lakewood residents who back a ban.
Those who support recreational marijuana shops in Lakewood registered a committee called Responsible Lakewood. The committee has ties to LivWell, a group of medical marijuana dispensaries along the Front Range.
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At least 22 municipalities throughout Colorado have marijuana-related questions on November ballots, according to the Colorado Municipal League.
Some members of the Northglenn City Council are upset over a tax measure that the Adams County commissioners put on the ballot. They say it competes with a city marijuana tax also being posed to voters.
The Adams County board of commissioners voted Sept. 2 to put on the ballot a 3 percent tax hike on recreational marijuana and related products countywide.
Likewise, Northglenn voted Sept. 25 to ask voters to raise medical and recreational marijuana taxes by 2 percent in order to fund a new combination recreation center, theater and senior center.
“There was no communication whatsoever,” said Northglenn Ward 3 Councilor Kyle Mullica. “(The commissioners) want to come in and tax the municipalities that do have marijuana, yet they don’t have it themselves. We’re the main people in the county that this is going to affect.”
There is currently a moratorium in Adams County, putting off the decision to allow or ban recreational marijuana in unincorporated areas until the end of the year. The county tax would draw from Northglenn and Aurora, the only two cities in the county to begin regulating local sales of marijuana. Federal Heights voters will be asked whether to approve recreational and medical marijuana shops and a 10 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana and products.
“We weren’t even aware that (Northglenn was putting a marijuana tax on the ballot),” Adams County Commissioner Eva Henry said. “It’s one of those miscommunications that go both ways. We could have been talking to them, and they could have been talking to us.”
In Aurora, voters will be asked whether to raise $2.4 million in the first annual year through a 5 percent excise tax on “unprocessed retail marijuana that is sold or transferred from a retail marijuana cultivation facility.” The question also calls for an additional 2 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana products.
Lafayette voters are asked whether to raise $240,000 annually beginning in 2015 with a new 5 percent excise tax on retail marijuana.
Lyons asks voters whether to approve a 3.5 percent marijuana tax increase in 2015, which would raise $95,000 annually.