Annie Lindgren | North Forty News
In mid-October, Wellington town residents should see ballots show up in the mail for the November 2, 2021, general election. Included on this ballot, voters will find Ballot initiative 2B and Ballot issue 300 regarding the sales and tax of marijuana in Wellington.
Ballot Initiative 2B is about allowing the sale of medical and retail Marijuana in the Town of Wellington. A ‘yes’ vote would allow stores and subject them to regulations that include setbacks from specific uses and locations. A ‘no’ vote means retail and medical marijuana stores will continue not being allowed in Wellington.
Ballot Issue 300 pertains to Retail Marijuana Sales Tax in the Town of Wellington. If Ballot Question 2B passes, retail marijuana would include a 3.5% sales tax alongside other states, county, or municipal sales taxes. This sales tax would be used for general operating expenses. A ‘no’ vote (accompanying a ‘yes’ vote on 2B) means there will be no additional sales tax on retail marijuana products.
If 2B passes, the Local Licensing Authority (the Wellington Board of Trustees) can begin processing applications on February 1, 2022. Stores will not be allowed within two thousand feet of schools, five hundred feet of Public Districts, or within two hundred feet of zoned residential areas. Licensed Premises will be subject to inspections that also include bookkeeping. Sales will only be allowed between 8:00 am and 9:00 pm daily, and grow facilities (where marijuana is grown) will remain illegal within city limits. They will follow the Colorado Marijuana Code and applicable state regulations.
There are pros and cons to allowing medical and recreational marijuana sales into town. Being close to state lines, Wellington could become a popular place for out-of-staters to visit. While this brings more spending to town, it also brings more traffic (of all kinds). There are concerns regarding increased crime and homeless people, and the prevalence of marijuana in the community. Wellington will likely draw consumers currently purchasing marijuana in Fort Collins. The town has a lot of regulations in place to assure the stores won’t be close to schools or residents, but there are still sights and smells associated with marijuana stores that some folks find unsavory. These stores would likely be located along the I-25 corridor.
The amount of money the local marijuana sales tax would bring to town could be in the hundreds of thousands and used for various initiatives around town, including improvements made to parks and roads, assisting community needs, and improving infrastructure. If approved, the 3.5% marijuana tax increase through Ballot Issue 300 would double the sales tax income for Wellington, putting twice as much back into the community. Projected numbers show nearly eight hundred thousand dollars a year if both of these votes pass.
The sale of recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado in 2012 after the passing of Amendment 64. Colorado collects a 2.9% sales tax on all sales and a 15% excise tax when marijuana transfers from grower to seller. A bulk of this tax funds various education-related programs and grant funding opportunities designed to benefit youth. Nearly two billion dollars in taxes have been collected and put back into communities since the passing of Amendment 64. Impact studies completed annually assess the impact legalization of marijuana has on communities. Links to recent reports are listed below.
Should Wellington join other communities in allowing medical and recreational marijuana sales? If you are a registered voter within Wellington’s City limits, you have a say. Make sure to vote on November 2, 2021.
For more information on these ballot issues or the impact of the legalization of marijuana:
There are three items on the ballot for this election, for details visit the Town of Wellington website.
You can also find more information on 2B and 300 at responsiblewellington.org.
The National Marijuana Initiative (NMI) puts out an annual impact report for Colorado to help policymakers and citizens make informed decisions for their communities. For the one released September 11, 2021, visit https://www.thenmi.org/the-legalization-of-marijuana-in-colorado-the-impact-2/.
The Colorado Division of Criminal Justice puts out an impact report related to Marijuana legalization and crime. For the latest, visit https://cdpsdocs.state.co.us/ors/docs/reports/2021-SB13-283_Rpt.pdf.
Originally published in North Forty News October 5, 2021