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Pueblo West Metropolitan District preparing marijuana resolution

No more applications accepted for retail pot shops

No more applications accepted for retail pot shops

PUEBLO, Colo. - No more retail marijuana stores applications will be accepted in Pueblo County this year. Commissioners capped the number of stores at 10 for the year and have hit the limit of applications.

County commissioners haven't discussed if there will be a limit in 2015.

"Well, it's July. In January we'll start all over again," said Pueblo West resident Paula McPheeters, who represents Pueblo for Positive Impact. McPheeters doesn't want more stores opening in Pueblo West.

McPheeters has voiced her concerns to the Pueblo West Metropolitan District. The district is preparing a resolution that will call on Pueblo County commissioners to discontinue allowing retail pot stores in Pueblo West until several criteria are met. Of the eight operating retail stores in the county, seven of them are in Pueblo West. Two other businesses are in varying stages of the application process .

"Pueblo West is now considered, in some circles, the new Amsterdam of the United States," said Mark Carmel, who sits on the board of the Pueblo West Metropolitan District.

Carmel said the provisions of the proposed resolution include asking for a share of the marijuana sales tax revenue and representation on the Pueblo County Planning Commission. Carmel believes three seats should be added to the commission and reserved for Pueblo West residents. Currently, no Pueblo West residents are on the commission.

The board does not have legal authority over whether retail stores should be licensed. "The best that we believe we can do is establish some firm, cooperative guideline that begins on the premise that the people in Pueblo West do have a voice," Carmel said.

Commissioner Terry Hart told KRDO NewsChannel 13 he understands the frustrations but says the county is balancing two sides.

"Some people who've come and talked to us say, 'Look, I never had any desire to be in the marijuana business at all, but I finally have somebody renting my commercial space and I haven't been able to rent it for 10 years,'" Hart said.

Rick Hooper, general manager of The Spot, a retail marijuana store in Pueblo West, said he's invested in the community.

"There's been a lot of people coming in. Our numbers have dramatically gone up. I'm personally selling Pueblo. I love Pueblo. I love the whole industry. I like everything about the industry," Hooper said.

The Pueblo West Metropolitan District is expected to vote on a resolution in two weeks.

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