This fall Golden voters will be asked to approve 2A and 2B. Ballot question 2A proposes to legalize the sale of retail (sometimes referred to as recreational) marijuana and ballot question 2B proposes to levy a special 6% excise tax on retail marijuana sales.

To help educate residents on 2A and 2B, the Vote YES for Golden campaign committee has provided the following answers to the most frequently asked questions about legalizing and taxing marijuana in Golden.

Legalizing Retail
marijuana in golden WILL

Generate approximately $900,000 in new revenue in the first year
Benefit city public health initiatives
Help address the harmful impacts of housing and food insecurity

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are these marijuana-related ballot Issues asking of Golden voters?

A. Today in Golden, only medical marijuana – sold to those with a doctor’s recommendation and valid medical marijuana registry card – is legal for sale in Golden. Retail marijuana, which is available to adults 21 and older, currently is prohibited in Golden. Ballot question 2A – if approved by the voters – will legalize the sale of retail marijuana in Golden. Ballot issue 2B seeks voter approval for a 6% excise tax levied on the sale of retail marijuana, an ordinance that is expected to generate nearly $900,000 in new tax revenue for the City in the first year alone. Both 2A and 2B need to pass for retail marijuana to be legalized and taxed in Golden.

Q. Why should I vote YES on ballot issues 2A and 2B?

A. There are several reasons to vote YES. First, the excise tax revenue captured by the City (estimated at $900,000 in the first year alone) will be spent on city public health initiatives, substance abuse education and addressing the harmful impacts of housing and food insecurity. With no retail marijuana stores in Golden, this revenue is being lost to Edgewater, Lakewood, Denver, Wheat Ridge, and other neighboring cities where retail marijuana is legal. Second, the City of Golden has committed to exercise complete transparency with this new revenue. Citizens can hold elected officials and staff accountable during the city’s budgeting process when excise tax revenue from marijuana is allocated. Third, the proposed excise tax is paid by marijuana consumers only. Unlike a sales tax that is collected on all retail products, an excise tax is paid only by those who purchase a specific product. Fourth, several neighboring cities have proven they can safely license and regulate these stores, which are by and large operated in several Colorado cities like Golden with no significant increase in crime, homelessness or underage use.

Q. Amendment 64, which allowed Colorado cities to legalize retail marijuana, was passed in 2012. Why has it taken Golden so long to ask voters to legalize retail marijuana?

A. While medical marijuana has been sold in Golden since 2009, previous Golden City Councils for many years have taken a “wait and see” approach before asking voters to legalize retail marijuana sales. Many Colorado cities and counties – rather than rush to legalize retail marijuana as soon as possible – have been more deliberate, making sure the citizenry is willing to host retail marijuana stores in city limits. After a lengthy community engagement process over the summer, City Council, after looking at lots of citizen feedback, unanimously approved both questions 2A and 2B for voter approval this year.

Q. If these ballot measures pass, will retail stores be limited in Golden?

A. Ballot question 2A asks whether Golden should authorize a limited number of retail marijuana stores. The City Council has indicated that, should the initiatives pass, Council will move to prohibit stores within 1,000 feet of schools, daycare centers, other marijuana stores, and perhaps parks. Stores will be strictly limited to commercial and manufacturing zone districts.
Taking into consideration these parameters and the limited number of adequate vacant retail sites available, estimates are there would likely be no more than five retail stores in Golden. City Council has indicated that it may take the additional step of instituting a hard cap on the number of stores to explicitly allow for no more than three to five stores in total.

Q. What other municipalities in Jefferson County allow the sale of retail marijuana?

A. Edgewater, Lakeside, Lakewood, Littleton, Mountain View and Wheat Ridge have all legalized the sale of retail marijuana in recent years with no significant related uptick in crime, homelessness or underage use.

Q. If ballot questions 2A and 2B pass, will marijuana be grown in Golden?

A. No. The ballot questions only ask if retail marijuana stores shall be authorized and would not allow any other kind of commercial marijuana business, such as cultivation and/or infused product manufacturing facilities.

Q. Doesn’t Golden already have a marijuana retail store?

A. Currently, Golden has one medical marijuana retailer within city limits.

Q. Who pays this special tax?

A. Only those who purchase retail (or recreational) marijuana will pay this tax.

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