COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Citizens of Pueblo had their first chance Monday night to comment on a proposed ordinance to regulate recreational marijuana stores in city limits.
Voters approved the opening of those shops by a narrow margin in the November election
The ordinance currently being considered is a near exact copy of one discussed in March of 2015, before the city council voted to table the item and wait for a public vote.
Under the terms, only eight recreational shops will be allowed in city limits, four to the north of the Arkansas River and four to the south.
Just like medical marijuana shops, the recreation shops will also be subject to zoning restrictions and confined to primary industrial areas of town.
Each shop will pay a $15,000 fee to the city every year, and each shop must have a ventilation system that makes any odor undetectable beyond the property line.
The biggest concerns among citizens who spoke Monday were the requirements and point system used for granting licenses.
Owners must have at least $200,000 in cash or line of credit, which is a tall order for some family-owned businesses in Pueblo.
The point system also favor owners with more experience.
At least two of the three medical marijuana shops in town want to expand into the recreational market, but they worry larger companies from outside Pueblo, with more experience and financial backing, will come in and swoop up all the permits.
Kevin and Randy Longo, owners of the Canna Cabinet, told the council they don’t feel like the city is showing much interest in Pueblo businesses being granted licenses.
Without any discussion at all, the council approved the first reading of the ordinance Monday evening.
The full discussion and a public hearing will be on December 27.
Following the meeting, council president Steve Nawrocki admitted there were some compelling comments.
He said it’s possible that not only more weight could be given to local business, but the proposed limit of eight recreational shops in town could also increase before the final vote is taken.
It’s unclear how soon the first licenses could be granted.