Annie Lindgren | North Forty News

The votes are in, and the results finally finalized. Wellington, Colorado’s Northern Gateway, will be the northernmost stop along I-25 for legally purchasing marijuana.   

The Town of Wellington participated in a Coordinated Election with Larimer County on November 2, 2021. Official results are posted, including the results from the mandatory recount for Ballot measure 2B. Below are the details regarding Wellington’s three ballot items. 

Ballot Question 2A passed with 2,310 ‘yes’ votes, 1,001 ‘no’ votes, and 3,311 total votes. This was a continuation of a vote initially approved in 1998, with a 1% sales tax for construction and reconstruction of Wellington Streets. In 2011, voters approved the money’s use for parks, trails, and open spaces between January 2012 and December 2021. On August 10, 2021, the Board of Trustees approved Ordinance 09-2021, deferring to the voters whether the 1% should continue to be split between parks, trails, open spaces, and streets. The ‘yes’ vote means voters approved. 

Ballot Initiative 2B passed by one vote, with 1,678 ‘yes’ votes, 1,677 ‘no’ votes, and a total of 3,355 votes. 2B is about allowing the sale of medical and retail marijuana in the Town of Wellington, and the ‘yes’ vote means sales are now allowed within city limits.

The Local Licensing Authority (the Wellington Board of Trustees) can begin processing dispensary 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. They will only be allowed in C-3 zones. Licensed Premises will be subject to inspections that also include bookkeeping. Sales are only permitted 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.

Ballot Issue 300 passed with 1,820 ‘yes’ votes, 1,447 ‘no’ votes, and 3,267 votes total. This vote pertained to Retail Marijuana Sales Tax in the Town of Wellington. Since Ballot Question 2B passed, retail marijuana sold in Wellington will include a 3.5% sales tax alongside other states, county, or municipal sales taxes. This sales tax would be used for general operating expenses in Wellington. 

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. Each municipality decided whether or not to allow sales within city limits. By one vote, Wellington is now on the side of allowing it. 

“Just when you think your vote doesn’t count…Think again. The sale of Marijuana in Wellington passed by one vote. By no means an overwhelming majority. The recount remains the same with confidence. It proves how right down the middle we citizens are on certain issues. It will now be up to us to maximize the positives of this decision, and we will,” shares Mayor Troy Hamman.

While the numbers may seem small regarding voter turnout, this was an epic year for folks taking the time to submit their vote. While Wellington has close to 11,000 residents, not all live within city limits. The recount and the one vote difference made for an intense month of seeing which side this would land.

What is next for all this? Some fear we will have dispensaries and homeless people on every corner. Others are excited to bring more money into the community through taxes and increased consumers. Time will tell. 

“Why do you want the criminals to make all the money off of marijuana when it’s proven that it won’t kill you unless you let a bale of it fall on you?” Asks Willie Nelson. 

For more details on any of the above, visit https://www.townofwellington.com/458/Elections

published in North Forty News, December 9, 2021