Three Colorado jurisdictions set to vote on recreational marijuana next month

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Residents of three towns in the state will decide at the polls if they want recreational sales

Three Colorado towns will vote on recreational marijuana sales in their jurisdictions in November. The state legalized cannabis in 2012, but localities decide whether to allow sales. Littleton, Lakewood and Buena Vista permitted medical cannabis to be sold at the time, while blocking retail sales.

“Even though Colorado has had it as a legitimate industry for almost seven years now, people driving by and people in the neighborhood that are wanting to stop by are very surprised to find out that we do not sell adult-use cannabis,” said Stan Zislis, co-founder of Silver Stem Fine Cannabis. He believes Littleton’s policies are outdated and believes the tax revenue raised if recreational cannabis was legal would help the city. A study conducted by supporters of the ballot question, estimated that Littleton would increase tax revenue by as much as $1.5 million in the first year if the measure were to pass.

Littleton Mayor Jerry Valdes is opposed to allowing recreational sales within city limits. “I just don’t want Littleton to become that. The medical marijuana serves a purpose for people who have health issues,” Valdez said. “Recreational is just about getting messed up.”

Valdez agrees it would bring more tax revenue to Littleton but does not believe the change would be good for the city. “It’s just a matter of, ‘Do I think that’s good to have in Littleton?’ No. If someone wants to get it, it certainly is assessable and it’s easy to get. I would just rather it not be here in Littleton,” he said. “What this will bring is probably people walking in our street smoking a joint or something.”

If the ballot question passes in Littleton, Lakewood and Buena Vista this November, each jurisdiction will need to decide how they will handle cannabis-related issues in the future.