Voters make it clear: ‘No’ to pot centers
The vote tally on the city’s Referred Measure A Tuesday leads to several conclusions.
First, and most importantly, a solid majority of voters made it clear they don’t want medical marijuana dispensaries operating out of storefront shops within the city of Grand Junction.
That doesn’t mean they oppose the use of medical marijuana for those who can truly benefit from it to relieve pain, nausea or other medical symptoms. Marijuana for medical purposes will still be allowed within the city, on a limited basis from individual caregivers serving a small number of patients.
But, as we argued in November when voters throughout Mesa County voted to prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated parts of the county, few people who voted for the medical marijuana amendment to the state Constitution 11 years ago envisioned the system that has proliferated in the last 18 months.
They didn’t expect storefronts on busy city streets, advertising for a variety of marijuana-related products. And they didn’t buy the claim from proponents of dispensaries that banning dispensaries will create an even larger black market in illicit marijuana.
The illicit market has been around for decades. Those who truly need marijuana for medical reasons have a clear process they can go through to obtain it, regardless of where they live in Colorado.
The vote on Referred Measure A is also a resounding vote of confidence in the City Council. Recall that the council last year passed an ordinance to prohibit medical marijuana centers in the city, and Tuesday’s vote was actually a vote for or against that ordinance.
Some people had suggested, when proponents of medical marijuana centers petitioned to place the issue on the ballot, that the council was out of touch with what the majority of city residents wanted on the issue. Tuesday’s vote demonstrates the council was not out of touch with the voters, but actually represented their constituents well.
Finally, there is no question that the medical marijuana question was the driving force behind heavy voter turnout in this municipal election. The proof is in the fact that in the five-man race for the at-large City Council seat, there were more than 2,000 fewer votes cast than there were on Referred Measure A.