Another smokin’ ballot measure
Five months after a ban on medical marijuana centers was approved by voters of Mesa County, including those who reside within Grand Junction, city voters will have a second opportunity to cast ballots on the issue.
The Grand Junction City Council Wednesday agreed to put a question to city voters at the April municipal elections, after receiving petitions from supporters of medical marijuana centers.
The proponents of allowing medical marijuana centers to operate in the city demanded that the City Council reconsider its Oct. 4 vote that would have banned the centers within city limits beginning Jan. 1.
As we said back in September, putting the question to a vote of city residents makes sense for the city, just as it did for the county. We respect our representative form of government and don’t believe elected officials should pass off difficult issues to voters just because they’re controversial. The medical marijuana question is different, however, because medical pot was first made legal through a ballot measure approved by Colorado voters in 2000.
Since the means of obtaining medical marijuana and accessibility have changed significantly over the past decade, and the state Legislature has now approved laws for regulation of medical marijuana centers, it’s reasonable to ask city voters whether they want to allow such centers to operate within city boundaries.
We’re not convinced that city voters will be any more amenable to allowing medical marijuana centers to continue operating than voters countywide were back in November. However, because that county vote was a close one, it’s understandable that proponents of medical marijuana centers believe they may have a chance of winning voter approval in the city come April.
They’ll have several months to put together a campaign focusing on the needs of people who benefit from medical marijuana, and to argue that the ban on marijuana centers in unincorporated parts of the county has made it more difficult for legitimate users of medical marijuana to obtain their treatment.
City voters will have to decide whether they accept those arguments. But the council did the right thing in agreeing to let voters decide the issue.