Kremmling turns down marijuana

Marijuana Plant Source: Wikimedia Commons

by Kim Cameron
In Tuesday’s election, Kremmling saw a 48% voter turn-out in the mail-in election. Kremmling residents voted to continue the ban on marijuana related business within the Town.

In a split of 236-210, 53% of the voters opposed lifting the ban.

The vote was expected to be close based on the initial vote to legalize recreational marijuana in Colorado in 2012. In the west end of the county, that vote to legalize marijuana passed with a margin of 51%. The Town of Kremmling then placed the ban on marijuana based businesses in 2013.

In 2019, after hearing requests to lift the ban on marijuana based business, Town trustees agreed to let constituents decide whether or not they wanted marijuana business in Town limits. The election limited voters to only those residing in town limits.

Of the election, Trustee Leo Pesch commented, “It was always about giving the residents a voice in the future of Kremmling. Even though most of us on the board preferred not having marijuana business in town, we never felt like our personal opinions should override the opinions of town residents. We represent everyone in town and wanted the people of Kremmling to tell us what they wanted. This now gives us clear direction.”

Pesch did lament the loss of a potential revenue source though, “We are always looking for revenue; financially it would have been helpful to have the business right now.”

Incidentally, voters who opposed lifting the ban seemed to carry their No vote to the other marijuana question as well. The sales tax measure that would have allowed the Town to place a larger tax on retail marijuana sales, bringing in more money for the Town, also fell flat. The vote was 228-216. However, this measure would only ever have had relevance if the ban on marijuana businesses was lifted.

At the next April town board meeting, Jim Miller who received 255 votes will be taking his seat as a first-time board member. He will be sworn in with incumbents Jason Wikberg and Dave Sammons who retained their seat in the election. All three electeds will serve a four year term.

After serving two terms on the Board, Gina Schroeder decided not to run for re-election and will serve at her last meeting this month.

Interestingly, 972 ballots were mailed out and 468 ballots were cast. Of those, 448 were counted, eight signatures are being verified, five are being contested, five were voided because they were inactive voters, and two were missing signatures. Overseas voters can also send in their ballots until April 15. The election results will be finalized on April 15.