Last November, Washington and Colorado made history by becoming the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
In Colorado, the new law gives each municipality and county in the state the right to decide whether they want to allow legal recreational marijuana sales. Many areas of the state are opting not to.
One town against legal marijuana sales is La Junta. The city council voted against the measure this past spring.
La Junta marijuana activist Tim Klob is fighting the city council’s decision. He circulated a petition asking for the council to put the issue of retail marijuana sales to the public in a popular vote. His petition accrued 600 signatures. Klob hopes that by legalizing marijuana sales, La Junta can boost its economy by producing industrial hemp. Klob says the dozens of empty La Junta warehouses would be perfect for industrial hemp production.
But all of Klob’s work has been voided over a technicality involving office supplies. Staples, to be specific.
After submitting his petition, the La Junta council told Klob his petition was voided because he didn’t staple each petition volunteer’s affidavit with the collected signatures.
“When they were brought into me nothing was attached. Everything was loose leaf and I did not know who circulated what,” said Janice Schooley, the La Junta city clerk.
Klob is now back to square one. He must circulate and accrue a whole new round of signatures if he wishes to have a popular vote on retail marijuana sales. The cause is something Klob genuinely believes in, though, and he intends to put in whatever work is necessary to hold a public vote.
“I see this as a game changer for our economy,” he said. “There’s no other industry knocking on our door right now. Hemp is knocking on our door.”