Deadline for Aurora's Last Retail Marijuana License Is November 30

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The City of Aurora will award just one more license for a retail marijuana store — the last of 24 — and applicants have only until November 30 to make a bid. The city plans to award the final license no later than February 1.

The new store will be located in Council Ward IV, an area of southeast Aurora extending from about Quincy Avenue to County Line Road east of E-470. Aurora permits a maximum of four retail marijuana stores in each of its six wards; though the city accepted applications for the Council Ward VI stores in 2014, it received only three complete applications. All three applicants were successful — which leaves one license still up for grabs.

Unlike Denver, which awards licenses through a hearings process, Aurora evaluates applications using a comprehensive scoring system. Applicants must satisfy several prerequisites before the city even considers them: Candidates must have a Colorado state license and at least two years' experience operating a licensed retail marijuana establishment. Other requirements include a $15,000 operating fee, proof of at least $400,000 in liquid assets, the deed or lease of a suitable property, and a detailed business plan for the proposed store.

Applications that exceed these minimum requirements are scored based on a points system. Applicants win points for clean criminal records and extra years of experience in the industry, and for agreeing not to hire anybody with a prior felony conviction. Applicants can win more points if they can ensure tight security plans and on-site air-filtration systems. Third-party consultants will evaluate and award points to both the business and operation plans of the applications.

If multiple applications earn the same number of points, a random drawing will determine which applicant will be awarded the license.
But so far, Aurora has received only one application for this last spot, according to city spokeswoman Julie Patterson. She expects another one to come in by November 30, however.

Locating a suitable space may have stymied potential applicants. "It's hard to find the right location for that type of business," says Patterson. Potential retail sites must meet certain specifications according to city ordinance, and landlords can choose not to allow a marijuana business on their property. "We suspect that a lot of it has to do with the facilities there," she adds.

Retail license applications can be found online until November 30.

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