Town finalizes questions to allow retail dispensary and to ask voters for special tax

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Photo by Kim Cameron | Town clerk recorder, Joanna Eaton draws the ballot order for Town Council candidates - candidate Jim Miller observes. The order candidates are drawn is they order they appear on the ballot. Candidates will appear on the ballott in htis order: 1. Peter Moschonas, 2. Jason Wikberg, 3. Jim Miller, and 4. Dave Sammons. The four candidates are vying for three seats with erg and Sammons as incumbents. The election will be a mail-in ballot.
Photo by Kim Cameron | Town clerk recorder, Joanna Eaton draws the ballot order for Town Council candidates - candidate Jim Miller observes. The order candidates are drawn is they order they appear on the ballot. Candidates will appear on the ballott in htis order: 1. Peter Moschonas, 2. Jason Wikberg, 3. Jim Miller, and 4. Dave Sammons. The four candidates are vying for three seats with erg and Sammons as incumbents. The election will be a mail-in ballot.

As Town trustees formulated the marijuana-based ballot questions for the upcoming April 7 election. the underlying focus was keeping the process as simple as possible.

Kremmling voters will officially be asked: Shall the Town Board lift the current ban on retail and medical marijuana sales in the Town of Kremmling, and begin to draft a new ordinance allowing retail marijuana stores and medical marijuana centers/dispensaries within the Town of Kremmling with such restrictions as seen fit by the Board of Trustees and discussed at public meeting(s).

The ballot question does not encompass cultivation or testing facilities.

Originally, the question stemmed from Mark Wellstone, the owner and operator of Blue Hero Dispensary in Oak Creek, Colorado, who hoped to open a retail dispensary in Kremmling. A year ago, Wellstone amiably agreed to wait for the Town to present the marijuana issue to its voters and allow the Town to frame its own question. Legally, Wellstone has the right to present his own ballot question and require the Town to hold an election. With either scenario, the Town would bear the cost of the election so it made sense to piggyback the ballot question
to lift the ban on marijuana-based business with the regular scheduled election for Town council members.

As the board discussed options for ballot initiatives that included marijuana cultivation and testing facilities, Trustee Erik Woog reminded fellow board members, “The original request was for retail. We agreed to ask the people of the town where they were at in respect to retail operations. Why not just keep it at that and put it all into one question?”

Trustee Gina Schroeder supported the ballot question emphasizing it was easy to understand, “Yes, means yes, and no, means no.”

“It is simple and very direct, added Trustee Leo Pesch.

A more complex issue was figuring out how to tax marijuana sales. Town Manager Dan Stoltman explained the Town has to have an estimate of what sales it expects to see in revenue. Stoltman generously estimated $100,000. He stated if the Town underestimated their revenue they can’t keep extra revenue.

A special sales tax to attach to the regular sales tax of 8% was also discussed. The board discussed the merits and disadvantages of putting a tax too high. Kremmling voters have to agree to the special tax for the Town to receive it. Stoltman explained, “You do run a risk of the special tax not passing.”

However, Mayor Grover Pryor countered that voters may find a higher tax palatable and vote for marijuana-based businesses if more revenue was being generated for the Town.

Pesch highlighted higher taxes may not be business-friendly. Ultimately the Town, decided to ask for a 5% -10% special tax, and agreed to begin taxing at 5% and not exceed 10%.

In addition to ballot questions relating to marijuana based business, voters will also vote for town trustees to fill three vacancies for a four-year term. Those running are Peter Moschonas,
Jason Wikberg, Jim Miller and Dave Sammons.

The Town will use the Grand County Clerk and Recorders office to help faciliate the election. The ballots will be mailed March 16.

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