De Beque approves
 retail pot; Fruita 

Lori Buck

Retail marijuana was on the ballot in a number of Mesa County locales, but it was small-town De Beque that became the first municipality in the county to accept the prospect of retail pot shops sometime in the future.

De Beque voters, many of whom no doubt voted for the measure in response to the town’s flagging economic prospects, passed the pot question Tuesday by four votes, 69 to 65.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Fruita voters decided Tuesday to not allow the recreational sale of marijuana within city limits.

With the passage of marijuana legalization Amendment 64 across Colorado in 2012, municipalities were afforded the chance to vote to ban or accept the new retail marijuana shops in their cities and towns, and the results of Tuesday’s mail-in ballot election in Fruita showed citizens there are not interested in bringing the legal marijuana business to town.

Voters cast 2,149 ballots against inviting recreational pot shops to apply in the city. That was far more than the 1,217 votes Fruita citizens cast in favor of retail marijuana in their midst.

A related measure, to impose a five percent local sales tax on the potential sale of retail marijuana, actually passed, by a tally of 1,913 for and 1,425 against. This is one of a number of times that marijuana-related questions have been put to Fruita voters — with similar results.

After Colorado passed Amendment 20 in 2000 to allow the limited use of medical-marijuana in the state, a local Fruita initiative in 2012 to allow medical marijuana in town was defeated by voters by a nearly 3-to-1 margin.

Similarly, Fruita citizens cast many more votes against last year’s Amendment 64, which opened the door to partial legalization of the drug statewide.

Also Tuesday in Fruita, voters were considering a race for mayor, and current Mayor Lori Buck ended up defeating challenger Alan Story by an unofficial vote total of 2,744 to 447.

Three candidates were also on the ballot for three council seats. Bob Fuller and Bruce Bonar will continue to serve on the Fruita City Council, and Kyle Harvey will be seated as a new council member as well.

In Collbran, voters were asked to provide guidance regarding a non-binding advisory question about prohibiting marijuana shops in town. It’s likely retail marijuana will not be allowed there, as citizens cast votes supporting a retail marijuana ban by a count of 78 to 48.

In other De Beque votes, Wayne Klahn defeated Lou Rotella in the mayor’s race, 81-45, and four people running unopposed were elected to the Board of Trustees: Forest Matis, Scott Elliott, Patrick Cole and Rich Greening.


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