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Pueblo pot grower says Colorado Springs ban could hurt him

Future of recreational pot shops in Pueblo County

The owner of Pueblo County's oldest medical marijuana dispensary worries a ban on recreational pot shops in Colorado Springs could put him out of business.

Mike Stetler, owner of Marisol Therapeutics, said he can't compete with growers who may decide to relocate to Pueblo County following a ban in Colorado Springs

"These guys could come in, they got their millions and stuff, they sell their product for $100, $75 an ounce," Stetler said.

At Stetler's dispensary, an ounce of marijuana costs $165.

"People in the Denver, Colorado Springs area, they have a lot more clientele than we do here in Pueblo. They're making $15, $25, $30,000 a day compared to our $3, $4,000 a day here," Stetler said.

Under Amendment 64, medical marijuana dispensary owners will have a head start in 2014 on getting into the recreational marijuana business. Pueblo County Commissioners said they're looking at giving growers, like Stetler, a three to six month head start.

"This gives those operations that are already on the ground here that have invested in our community...the opportunity to make that transition without the competition from outside the county that may be much, much larger," said Commissioner Liane "Buffie" McFadyen.

Stetler said he would need two years to catch up with other growers who may be relocating to Pueblo County.

Commissioners will be taking public comment this year to decide exactly how much extra time to give existing medical marijuana dispensaries.

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