Marijuana excise tax hits Fort Lupton ballot


Fort Lupton City Council voted to put a marijuana excise tax question on November's ballot. Councilman Tommy Holton cast the only no vote of seven that were cast Aug. 31 during a special meeting.

The tax would begin at 1.5 percent and would be capped at 4 percent, if voters approve.

"Pueblo started at 1 percent and started losing the grow operations when they hit 4 percent," MayorZo Stieber said.

"Give the people what they want," Holton said.

"I'd try for 2 percent, but if 1 .5 percent is the consensus," said Councilman Chris Ceretto.

City clerk Mari Pena said the finance department will be in charge of administration of the excise tax, if passed. She told council there will be minimal impact on the police department if voters approve the tax.

More marijuana

During a companion study session Aug. 31, council was not inclined to start talking about cultivation of marijuana in town .. at least not yet.

"I don't think we should vote on this unless and until voters approve the excise tax," Stieber said.

Marijuana ordinance returns

The last piece of marijuana business before council Aug. 31 dealt with a combined ordinance dealing with medical and retail marijuana businesses.

The ordinance has to become part of the city code and has been the subject of lengthy discussions most of the year.

Most of the Aug. 31 discussion dealt with a fear of getting "stacked applications," several applications from the same business.  City Attorney Andy Ausmus offered to come up with some language to address this. But city consultant Laura Bauer wasn't quite on board.

"You're only allowing four applications in the city," she said. "If you have a site that's been subdivided into four units and they use all four sites, those are considered four locations. They could enter applications for four separate locations."

Ausmus said the concern centered around what he called "objective fraud."

"I don't know that it's ever occurred," Ausmus told council. "I'd be happy to do some research before the next hearing. I think we addressed it in the ordinance. If Todd (city planner Todd Hodges) and Laura are OK with it, I'm OK with it."

The combined ordinance is due to be posted on the city's website by Friday, Sept. 3. Council could vote Tuesday, Sept. 7.



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