Citizens of Fort Collins have a full ballot to consider on November 1. The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce has reviewed several of the issues on the ballot and offers the following recommendations: The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce is supporting Larimer County Referred Issue 1A – Larimer County Jail, Alternative Sentencing Facility and Related Programs and is also supporting Initiative Question 300 – Citizen-Initiated Ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana centers, optional premises cultivation operations, and medical marijuana infused products manufacturers from operating within the City limits.
Fort Collins citizens will also have the opportunity to elect four candidates to the Poudre School District School Board. The Chamber is not endorsing any candidates, but did host a candidate forum that can be viewed on this website.
Learn more about the Chamber’s position and access other resources below.
Larimer County Referred Issue 1A
The Larimer County Commissioners have referred a tax measure to the November ballot called Referred Issue 1A. The measure asks county voters to replace two existing sales and use taxes which total 0.40% with one sales and use tax of 0.375%. The new tax would be effective January 1, 2012 for a 15-year period and would be used to operate public safety programs and facilities, operate the jail and alternatives to jail, operate mental health and treatment programs for inmates and make capital improvements as needed.
The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce endorses this measure.
The endorsement has been given for several reasons including:
- The services are needed to keep the community safe.
- The County and the Sheriff’s Department have done a good job with the resources they have been entrusted with. Creative use of pretrial services and alternative sentencing has been used to reduce incarceration rate while keeping Larimer County’s crime rate below state and national averages.
- The need can be met while reducing the tax rate.
- The tax is sunset so voters can hold officials accountable and repurpose the money in the future, if appropriate.
There is no known organized opposition. The group supporting the effort is called Citizens for Keeping Public Safety First.
Initiative Question 300 – Citizen-Initiated Ordinance
The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce supports citizen-initiated Question 300 on the November ballot. Question 300 calls for a ban on marijuana dispensaries, growing operations and the manufacture and distribution of marijuana edibles within the Fort Collins City limits.
The Chamber has two broad roles: advocate for business and free enterprise; champion the overall well-being of the community. In light of those roles, there are four general issues that led to the Chamber supporting Question 300:
- Marijuana is illegal. Growing and distributing marijuana is against federal law. Condoning those activities locally does not change that fact. Because of its pro-business, pro-free enterprise mission, the Chamber supports economic liberty and is loath to support bans of any legal business or the imposition of excessive regulations or mandates on them. This holds true whether such limits are imposed through direct action of the public such as a measure petitioned onto the ballot or through the people’s elected representatives. The operative word here is ”˜legal.’ Although there have been inconsistencies between the federal, state and local levels of government about marijuana dispensaries, the federal government is the overriding legal authority.
- Community reputation. Fort Collins is known as one of America’s most livable communities. It is known for Colorado State University; it is known for having a vibrant downtown; it is known for its high tech sector; it is known for caring about the environment and being pro-bike; it has an emerging reputation as a center for clean and renewable energy; it is known for having one of the best veterinary schools in the nation; it is known for its micro breweries. Because other communities in Northern Colorado have banned medical marijuana dispensaries, Fort Collins is becoming known as a location for marijuana distribution. Is that okay? In the Chamber’s opinion the answer is ”˜no.’
- Character of the community. Openly permitting the sale of illegal drugs changes the nature of the community. Some would argue that is good, others would strongly disagree. But it does change how the community perceives itself, it does set a new social norm for the community and it does impact children and schools. On the latter point, since marijuana dispensaries opened in Fort Collins, drug-related suspensions in Poudre School District have gone up dramatically.
- Workplace issues. Drug and alcohol use in the workplace have consequences for employers including safety, employee impairment and the resulting lost productivity, insurance, liability and employee relations. A permissive community culture that makes drugs more readily available does impact the workplace.
“The people of Colorado are compassionate, big-hearted people. When they passed the measure in 2000 to allow the use of medical marijuana for people with debilitating pain, it was done with a spirit of helping, said David May, President of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce. Subsequent actions to allow open distribution of illegal drugs from community storefronts are counter to voter intentions and undermine communities.”
Poudre School District School Board Election
Four seats on the Poudre School District Board of Education are up to election. Click HERE to see a map of the districts. School board candidates must live within a specific district but are elected at-large.
The candidates for the four district seats include: