Over the last several months the city of Pueblo has been at odds over whether or not to allow recreational cannabis dispensaries within city limits. While the county of Pueblo is home to both cultivation facilities and dispensaries, the city of Pueblo has only had medical marijuana dispensaries – even two years after Amendment 64 passed. However, during the election voters passed Ballot Measure 2B, which allows retail marijuana businesses to finally open their doors within city limits.
After the measure passed, the Pueblo City Council got together to start determining any city-specific regulations for the zoning requirements of retail cannabis shops. In the end they decided to expand the geographical area in which shops would be able to set up, but they also limited the number of shops to eight for the entire city – four on the north side of Arkansas River and four to the south of the river. Due to both state and county zoning laws, shops will need to be a minimum of 1,000 feet from schools, 500 feet from hospitals and 300 feet from residential areas.
“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.
On top of finally determining how many dispensaries will be allowed within the city and passing an ordinance to drop the asset requirement, the city council also decided that medical marijuana shops who are looking to obtain a retail license will have a slight edge from the start, with an additional 5 bonus points added to their application. When all the applications are scored, those coming from medical marijuana businesses will automatically have 5 points – but they don’t believe that those 5 points would be enough to disqualify other applicants.
“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.”
Now that all of this has been decided, the city will begin taking applications for cannabis dispensaries, and early next year we will find out where those eight lucky businesses will be setting up shop. If all goes as expected, retail cannabis could be available for Pueblo city residents to purchase from dispensaries as soon as summer 2017.