Colorado Political Battles Pit Urban Democrats Against Rural Republicans

With the urbanized front rangers currently winning


Colorado lawmakers' approval of taxes and other measures to regulate marijuana sales is the latest in a series of moves by the Democratic-controlled legislature splitting cities from rural areas dominated by Republicans.

Widening the rift are the passage of up to a 25 percent tax on recreational pot sales legalized by Colorado voters, a successful Democratic campaign to enact the toughest gun control measures in the state in a decade and a mostly failed attempt to tighten regulations on oil and gas drillers.

On the floor of the House of Representatives and the Senate, rural Republicans charged urban Democrats with trying to ram through an agenda tailored to communities hugging the foothills of the Colorado Rockies, known as the Front Range, where almost 75 percent of the state's population of five million makes its home in eight counties. The rest inhabit 56 counties from peach groves on the Western slope to cattle ranches on the Eastern plains.