Palisade approves measure on weed

This time around, Palisade residents are giving the green light to marijuana within town limits.

Palisade voters Tuesday night unofficially approved five ballot measures that will allow retail marijuana sales, retail marijuana testing facilities, retail marijuana product manufacturing facilities and a retail marijuana excise tax.

Passage of the measures makes Palisade one of only two municipalities in Mesa County to allow retail marijuana sales. De Beque voters in 2014 allowed retail marijuana sales.

Decisions in Palisade, such as the number of stores that will be allowed and any restrictions on how businesses operate, will be up to town trustees. Trustees already have placed a six-month moratorium on the opening of any stores so they can hammer out those details.

The voters signed off on:

■ Referred Ballot Issue 2A. Nearly 56 percent of voters — 495 to 375 — passed the measure to increase taxes by $300,000 a year, in the first year, on wholesale marijuana operations.

■ Referred Measure 2B. Nearly 55 percent of voters — 483 to 402 — approved marijuana cultivation facilities.

■ Referred Measure 2C. Nearly 55 percent of voters — 485 to 402 — approved retail marijuana stores.

■ Referred Measure 2D. Nearly 55 percent of voters — 482 to 401 — approved the presence of retail product manufacturing facilities.

■ Referred Measure 2E. Nearly 57 percent of voters — 501 to 382 — approved retail marijuana testing facilities.

Palisade voters in 2014 denied allowing retail marijuana sales, but voters at the time did approve a taxing structure on sales of retail marijuana from stores.

While the question of whether to allow retail marijuana sales was a publicly contentious issue two years ago, the tenor of the conversation seemed to have chilled in the lead-up to Tuesday’s election.

A September community meeting about marijuana sales in Palisade attracted about 75 people who spoke on both sides of the issue.

Trustees divided up the marijuana questions into separate measures so the people could understand it, Trustee Dave Edwards said.

Now the board has a “real tough six to nine months to get it up and running” while respecting both supporters and opponents, Edwards said.

“We want the retail sales locations to be compatible with our small town and not be sensational in any way at all,” he said.

Staff writer Gary Harmon contributed to this report.


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