With the passage of Amendment 64 on November 6, 2012, many Fort Collins citizens were primed and ready to break out the Cheetos and eye drops in celebration. However, both those that are in favor of and in
opposition to the amendment have experienced a different outcome than expected.
The amendment legalized marijuana in Colorado and allowed those who are over the age of 21 to consume or posses limited amounts of the substance. In order to ensure that the drug was distributed in a legal fashion, it was to be taxed and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol.
After the amendment won over voters, the city of Fort Collins immediately reacted. Question 300 was introduced and was a plan to ban all medical marijuana dispensaries within Fort Collins and after its passage, local stores were required to shut their doors within 90 days. The response to the ban was not wholly accepted throughout the cannabis industry.
“Banning medical or adult use marijuana stores from communities doesn’t mean people won’t be using marijuana in that community,” said Betty Aldworth, the deputy director for the National Cannabis Industry Association. “It simply means they will either access the black market or go to a licensed store in a neighboring community, which will enjoy the job creation and tax revenue that comes along with regulated medical marijuana.”
In reaction to the ban, Initiative 301 was passed by Fort Collins voters, which repealed the ban on medical marijuana centers and dispensaries.
“After the medical marijuana business was banned, people saw a lot more people growing marijuana in their houses and a lot more caregivers where under the medical marijuana laws. They are unregulated and more informal,” said Josh Kappel, associate director of Sensible Colorado, an organization devoted to avocation of medical marijuana rights.
However, the reinstatement of medical marijuana dispensaries did not go over as well as with some. Team Fort Collins is a local group committed to outreaching to students across the Fort Collins area in an attempt to inform them of the risks of substance use.
“We’re hearing students report about the easy access to marijuana. There’s a student we work with that said marijuana is so easy to get that it would take her less than five minutes, and she was in the heart of the school,” said Ashley Kasprzak, the executive director for Team Fort Collins.
Team Fort Collins is committed to swaying students away from substance use and regarding amendment 64 and “it adds to environmental factor of students being more likely to engage in marijuana use,” according to Kasprzak.
Within campus, there has been a general consensus through the presidents of both the College Democrats and the College Republicans that amendment 64 was a positive move for Fort Collins.
“We support amendment 64 because it’s a recreational drug that obviously college students are getting ahold of and I think it makes sense to sell something that can be taxed,” said Marlee Sakschewsky, the president of the College Democrats.
“As a college Republican party we’re generally for it,” College Republicans President Tyler Marr said. “As long as your use of marijuana doesn’t negatively affect others, there’s no reason you should be denied that right.”
Collegian Reporter Lauren Rullman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.