Pueblo City Council gives OK to retail marijuana shops within city limits

Published: Dec. 28, 2016 at 1:19 PM MST
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Pueblo City Council members are paving the way for the first retail marijuana shops to be able to setup within city limits.

On Tuesday night, city council approved several resolutions and an ordinance to solidify the rules and regulations for the new retail shops.

City Council President Steve Nawrocki says they will allow eight total retail marijuana shops within the city.

Four will be located north of the Arkansas River and four will be south.

During a discussion, council modified three key pieces of the rules and regulations.

The first has to do with zoning.

"We added a geographical area called B3 business area that expanded the capabilities for locating the retail marijuana shops. I think it's important to remember they still have to adhere to the buffer zone requirement," said Nawrocki.

The buffer zone includes 1,000 feet from schools, 500 feet from hospitals, and 300 feet from homes.

"Another big change that took place is that we dropped the $200,000 requirement for liquid assets. To make sure they have to demonstrate they have the financial capability. By the marijuana board there will still be an assessment of the financial capabilities, but to be able to show proof since it's a cash business literally as an example you'd have to show up with $200,000 in a duffel bag and we're not interested to put anyone in a position where they would have to do that," said Nawrocki.

The city will also give the three existing medical marijuana shops operating on the south side five extra points on the application rating system.

Nawrocki says if those shops choose to apply and expand their medical business to retail marijuana, they will have a little bit of an edge on everyone else, but it doesn't guarantee they will be chosen to have a retail license.

"Because they are in good standing they are already an existing medical marijuana business that they would be given an additional five points. Doesn't guarantee they would be one of the ones receiving the license, but it certainly gives them little additional preference."

Applicants will be notified the first of March if they are going to be awarded a retail marijuana license.

Those applicants will then have 120 days to get their land use and buildings situated.

The goal is to have retail marijuana shops within city limits operating by summer.