PALMER LAKE – Recreational marijuana sales will hit ballots in this town for a third time in the past four years. Petitioners gathered enough signatures to qualify for this November’s general election, undeterred by failure of the same question in 2014 and 2016.
“We feel like times have changed and more and more states are legalizing medical marijuana and considering recreational marijuana, as well as in the State of Colorado,” said Brenda Quiñones, a member of Community for a Peaceful Palmer Lake, the advocacy group supporting legalization. Quiñones says a general widening of acceptance of recreational marijuana sales across the state puts them in the best position so far for getting a ballot measure passed.
Quiñones says Palmer Lake would stand to benefit greatly from a marijuana sales tax rate in excess of 24 percent. “It has really proven to be a benefit to a lot of areas with regard to tax revenue and improving states’ and cities’ infrastructure,” Quiñones said. “We feel like tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales would really benefit the town.”
If approved, only two recreational marijuana stores would be permitted inside town limits. One, or possibly both, would be located inside the former bowling alley along State Highway 105 just inside Palmer Lake’s southern boundary with Monument. Palmer Lake Wellness Center, of which Quiñones is an employee, currently occupies the building as a medical marijuana dispensary. Quiñones says the building’s location on the extreme southern end of the town, nearly 3 miles and at least a 5-minute drive from downtown Palmer Lake, would limit the impact of additional traffic in the heart of the town. “People typically would come into town from I-25, come into the store, make their purchase, and turn around and go back the way they came,” Quiñones said.
Still, some in Palmer Lake worry about the extra traffic that could be generated by the only recreational marijuana store between the southern Denver metro area and Manitou Springs. “Traffic has only increased by just word of the road construction (on I-25) between here and Denver and all the people that are looking for places to stay from Denver because it’s more expensive in Denver,” said Palmer Lake resident Nicole Freeman.
An opposition group called CALM (Citizens Against Legalized Marijuana) Palmer Lake did not respond to News 5’s request for comment on the ballot question, but on its web site, cites Federal illegality of marijuana and its potential negative health effects as key reasons for opposition.
Ballot language for both measures below:
Town of Palmer Lake 2A
SHALL THE TOWN OF PALMER LAKE TAXES BE INCREASED BY FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS ($500,000.00) IN THE FIRST FISCAL YEAR AND BY WHATEVER ADDITIONAL AMOUNTS ARE RAISED ANNUALLY THEREAFTER, BY IMPOSING AN ADDITIONAL SALES TAX OF 5% ON THE SALE OF RETAIL (RECREATIONAL) MARIJUANA AND RETAIL (RECREATIONAL) MARIJUANA PRODUCTS AS DEFINED IN
ARTICLE X, SECTION 20 OF THE COLORADO CONSTITUTION, ARTICLE 1 OF TITLE 29, COLORADO REVISED STATUTES, OR ANY OTHER LAW?
Town of Palmer Lake 2B