Election to Decide Fate of 22 Colorado Cannabis Dispensaries Forced to Close Earlier This Year

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A year ago, the city of Fort Collins, Colorado, ranked as the state’s fourth-largest medical marijuana market, boasting nearly two dozen cannabis dispensaries and a similar number of cultivation sites.

That all changed last November when residents voted in favor of a ban on cannabis centers and related businesses, which forced the city’s 22 dispensaries to close earlier this year.

Now, the MMJ industry in Fort Collins has a shot to rise from the ashes and help bolster the state’s medical cannabis market once again.

A measure on the ballot asks voters whether they want to overturn the dispensary ban they backed last year. If the proposal (called Question 301) passes, the dispensaries that closed would be able to reopen, and more centers could eventually set up shop depending on the overall size of the patient base.

While Amendment 64 – which would legalize the general use of marijuana – is getting most of the attention in Colorado, Question 301 is very important to the state’s MMJ industry. Fort Collins is one of the largest cities in Colorado, so there’s a lot of opportunity there for the long-term. Repealing the ban would make Colorado a stronger player in the MMJ arena and restore several hundreds jobs.

Additionally, it would be a symbolic win for the industry, underscoring the MMJ community’s ability to change the minds of skeptical voters and force political change. Last year, 52% of voters backed the ban, even though cannabis advocates had the support of a large union and raised more than 10 times the amount of campaign money than supporters of the measure.

This time around, both sides are taking a low-key approach to campaigning, and neither side is spending too much money. Cannabis advocates are hoping to benefit from a larger turnout this year because of the presidential election, saying that many residents who support medical marijuana likely didn’t show up at the polls last year.