Two new ballot initiatives could change the way Coloradans buy booze and pot. The first is a plan to rearrange many of the regulations limiting how and where full-strength beer, wine and liquor can be sold in Colorado. The second initiative is a proposal to legalize, tax and regulate the sale of marijuana.
Initiative 48 has the backing of the Colorado Retail Council, and it comes as a Council-backed bill expanding alcohol sales looms on the legislature’s calendar. The initiative is more sweeping than the bill and could influence lawmakers set to consider allowing supermarkets to sell booze for the third time in as many years. Liquor store owners could own as many locations as they like; grocers could sell the full spectrum of alcohol; and convenience stores would be able to sell full-strength beer if voters approve the measure in November.
A bill allowing convenience stores to sell full-strength beer instead of limiting them to lower alcohol 3.2 percent beer died in committee earlier this year. Liquor retailers leery of competition from grocery chains and big-box retailers say they anticipate public outcry over a proposal that would so broadly expand access to alcohol. The initiative, filed just weeks before the deadline, would have to garner 76,047 signatures to make the ballot.
Initiative 47, backed by the Colorado-based Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation, is far broader than the group’s last statewide attempt in 2006 to legalize the possession of small amounts of pot. That proposal failed by a wide margin, with 58 percent of voters voting in opposition. The new initiative will also be required to garner sufficient signatures to appear on the ballot.