City Votes to Approve Recreational/Medical Marijuana Sales

 

 

Voters in Lamar approved the two-part November ballot question to legalize sales of marijuana within the City of Lamar.  Both questions, 2A and 2B had to pass in order for the city to join other communities with legalized sales.  The vote was 1,102 to 902 on 2A which set the level of taxes on marijuana sales.  2B passed by a vote of 1,078 to 917 to allow the actual sale of the various forms of marijuana including cultivation, manufacture and testing of the plant.  The Lamar City Council, which took no stance on the ballot initiative, set the ballot question so that if 2A failed on passing a tax, 2B, to allow the actual sales of marijuana would be moot and the ten-year old city moratorium would remain in effect.  Las Animas is the town closest to Lamar where legalized sales have been in effect for the past two years.  Sales of marijuana were approved in a state ballot, Proposition 64, in the November 2012 general election.

Don’t expect to see stores sprouting up all over town in the next few weeks.  When asked during the October candidate/marijuana forum, if the ballots passed, when could sales begin, Mayor Kirk Crespin estimated it would take about a year.  “The City Council will begin work on the ordinances which will determine how many stores could be licensed, we have to look at zoning issues and we also need to determine just how the license applications will be awarded,” he responded.

Question 2A asked if Lamar taxes would be increased by $450,000 in the first fiscal year based on sales of marijuana.  The taxes would be applied to the city’s general fund to pay for government expenses approved by the Lamar City Council.  Again, if that issue failed, there would have been no point in legalized sales.

One aspect for voter approval was based on the overall financial benefit to the community at large, based on the additional sales tax revenue.  It has been noted that this area of Colorado receives traffic from neighboring states such as Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas where recreational sales are still illegal.  Medical marijuana is allowed for sale in Oklahoma, but recreational sales are not, but that question was on that state’s ballot for this year.  While a customer can legally purchase marijuana in Colorado, it is still against the law to transport the drug out of state.

These results are unofficial.

By Russ Baldwin

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