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El Paso County Unincorporated Areas, Fountain & Ramah Marijuana Dispensaries Questions, 3 (November 2010)

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Three Marijuana Dispensaries Questions appeared on the November 2, 2010 ballot in the municipalities of Fountain and Ramah and also in the unincorporated areas of El Paso County. The measure was defeated according to cumulative results.Defeatedd

This measure asked voters if they wanted to allow medical marijuana dispensaries within their areas as well as the growing and cultivation of marijuana plants.[1]

Election results

El Paso County results:[2]

  • YES 90641 (49.91%)
  • NO 90972 (50.09%)Defeatedd

Town of Ramah results:[2]

  • YES 17 (36.96%)
  • NO 29 (63.04%)Defeatedd

City of Fountain results:[2]

  • YES 2164 (50.34%)Approveda
  • NO 2135 (49.66%)

Campaign efforts

Opponents to the Unincorporated El Paso county measure, 1A, launched a campaign consisting of doctors, patients and people who operate dispensaries, hoping to educate voters that prohibiting dispensaries would force marijuana sales into less legal means and would leave many without jobs. If approved, those marijuana businesses would have to be shut down by August 2011. It was estimated that the measure would affect 76 businesses.[3]

The group opposed to this measure, Citizens for Safer Communities, collected about $3,800 for campaigning. Most of the funds came from different dispensaries who did not want to see their businesses shut down. Proponents of the measure collected an estimated $2,400 with the largest contributor being St. Dominic Catholic Church.[4]

Lawsuit

The group filed a lawsuit, in an attempt to force the issue off of the ballot. County officials said they were confused and surprised that this was brought up as ballots were about to be mailed out to voters. According to reports, they expected a lawsuit if the measure was removed. Those who filed the suit claimed that it was illegal to force dispensaries already in business to close down. County officials said they did not expect a quick resolution to the issue.[5] A pre-injunction hearing was scheduled for October 27. If the measure was not removed from the ballot, the judge could still rule to not certify the results following the November vote. Though city officials said they were fairly certain the judge would not agree to dismissing cast votes.[6] The county attorney tried to postpone the hearing until after the election, but was not successful. County officials said they still wanted voters to vote on the issue and know that it was still important regardless of the ruling. They also expressed their belief that the measure was not illegal due to new legislation brought forward by the state.[7]

The judge ruled that the measure was legal and would stay on the ballot. Opponents of the measure said they feared the court ruling would set a precedent and other dispensaries would get banned. The judge noted that voters should have the right to vote on the issue and have their votes count for something.[8]

References