Nancy Stahoviak, Diane Mitsch Bush and Doug Monger: Ballot clarification

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The Routt County Board of Commissioners thinks it necessary to respond to a letter to the editor printed Oct. 5, titled “Too late to ban” by Michelle LaMay. First, the board is not advocating a position in regards to the below ballot question that will be before registered Routt County voters on Nov. 1. Ms. LaMay’s letter questions the legality of the medical marijuana ballot question itself, and that is what is prompting this response. The board desires all issues before the electorate to be clear, including the upcoming ballot question concerning the banning of existing medical marijuana centers, optional premises cultivation operations and medical marijuana-infused products manufacturers’ licenses within unincorporated Routt County.

Ms. LaMay cites Colorado Revised Statute 12-43.3-103 as requiring a county to adopt a resolution or ordinance concerning the licensing, regulating or prohibiting of medical marijuana operations before July 1, 2011. After consultation with the county attorney’s office, it is the opinion of the board that this statute does not restrict a county’s authority to hold an election concerning medical marijuana operations after July 1, 2011.

The statute that does provide the authority for counties to hold elections in this regard is C.R.S. 12-43.3-103, which states in relevant part that “(t)he operation of this article shall be statewide unless a municipality, county, city, or city and county, by either a majority of the registered electors ... or a majority of the governing board … vote to prohibit the operation of medical marijuana centers, optional premises cultivation operations, and medical marijuana-infused products manufacturers’ licenses.” There is no deadline by which a county must submit a ballot question to its residents.

On July 19, 2011, the Routt County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to allow the registered voters of Routt County to decide whether to ban existing medical marijuana operations in unincorporated Routt County. The ballot question for the Nov. 1 election will read as follows:

Referendum 1A

“Pursuant to the authority granted by C.R.S. Section 12-43.3-106, shall all medical marijuana centers, optional premises cultivation operations and/or medical marijuana-infused products manufacturers’ licenses, as those terms are defined in C.R.S. Section 12-43.3-104, not previously prohibited by Routt County Resolution No. 2011-033 be prohibited within the unincorporated boundaries of Routt County, Colorado effective January 1, 2012?”

A “yes” vote will be in favor of banning existing medical marijuana operations.

A “no” vote will be against banning existing medical marijuana operations.

Questions may be directed to the Routt County Commissioner’s Office at 970-879-0108.

Nancy Stahoviak, Diane Mitsch Bush and Doug Monger

Routt County Board of Commissioners

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