The widespread devastation of COVID-19 caught the entire nation off guard, and local communities like Denver suffered. It didn’t have to be this way, and it shouldn’t be for the next pandemic.
In Denver, we’ve all been personally impacted. We spent months in isolation, unable to be with our families, our neighbors, and our friends. Denver’s children lost countless hours of school and missed out on socializing, learning, and accessing basic needs. Our restaurants and small businesses lost vital income, and some had to shutter their doors forever. And our essential workers sacrificed their own safety to save the lives of others.
As a city, we’ve faced--and are still dealing with--the loss of loved ones and neighbors, serious mental health impacts, major inequities, and significant economic harm from COVID-19. We weren’t prepared for this pandemic. And, because there has been almost no investment into protecting us from the next pandemic, we remain unprepared. We need to do better.
Initiated Ordinance 300 will dedicate $7 million per year to fund locally-based, critical research into:
- advanced technologies to protect the public from the spread of pandemic pathogens, including at schools, businesses, and hospitals; and
- pandemic preparedness and recovery, including urban, economic, and school planning.
When Denver approved the sale of recreational marijuana, Denver voters also approved up to a fifteen percent sales tax on marijuana. The one and a half percent amount in Initiated Ordinance 300 is a small fraction of the unused pre-approved amount, and leaves plenty of room for other spending needs. Initiated Ordinance 300 will not take money away from any other programs or services.
For only 15 cents on a $10 recreational marijuana purchase (medical marijuana is exempt), we will be able to:
- innovate better masks and other personal protective equipment for health-care workers and the general public that are more effective and more comfortable;
- improve building ventilation and disinfectant systems to make schools, hospitals, assisted living homes and shelters safer for everyone; and
- create an evidence-based plan for implementing best practices when the next pandemic strikes.
Denverites have long taken charge of our own fate. Initiated Ordinance 300 helps us prepare for the next pandemic before it starts.
Vote YES on Initiated Ordinance 300 so that next time, we’ll be ready.