As our nation’s future dangled on election night last November, Colorado voters took a big step forward with commercial marijuana. And of the ten towns considering recreational marijuana sales in the November 2020 election, eight voted in favor.
Now, four months after the election, we're starting to see when dispensaries will open or obtain licensure in these towns. Here’s an update on the respective timelines in those eight towns:
Already home to medical dispensaries, Lakewood is in the process of moving forward with recreational licenses after a citizen ballot measure was approved by 66 percent of voters in November.
The new law only permits existing medical dispensaries in good standing with the city to apply for recreational licenses, making it possible for ten total recreational marijuana dispensaries in the city. According to Deputy City Manager Ben Goldstein, four dispensaries have expressed interest through the preliminary application process. However, Goldstein says, the time frame for when recreational sales will be open to the public is still “up in the air” and depends on the speed of processing applications.
Also home to medical dispensaries only, Littleton saw 57 percent of voters in favor of recreational pot sales in November. And, as in Lakewood, the local law has a cap that allows existing medical stores only to apply for recreational licenses. However, unlike Lakewood, Littleton citizens can already start purchasing recreational marijuana; Ascend Cannabis began adult-use sales on February 26. Stan Zislis, chief business development officer at Silver Stem Fine Cannabis, hopes the longtime medical dispensary will open its doors to recreational weed by the end of March.
Ballot initiative 2A in Broomfield passed by almost 57 percent in November, setting the city up for recreational pot sales. The city currently has no dispensaries and is “in the process of reviewing and approving rules and regulations,” according to City Clerk Danee Brouillard, with a second and final reading scheduled for March 16. Once the ordinances are approved, the application process is scheduled to open sixty days from May 3.
The residents of popular tourist destination Buena Vista voted in favor of recreational marijuana businesses by 55.5 percent last November. The town just closed phase one of recreational license applications on March 8, and is expected to process and issue licenses soon, according to the local government.
Up in Weld County, Fort Lupton doesn’t yet have a clear path forward since the city voted to allow recreational marijuana businesses last year. During a town hall meeting on March 9, Fort Lupton City Council members postponed drafting any solid plans to get a schedule of applications and licensing rolling until late March.
Paonia, a municipality in Delta County, is still reviewing retail marijuana rules and regulations after voters approved dispensaries by 65 percent last year. However, the small town currently has a cap permitting one dispensary per commercial block, limiting the town to a maximum of six dispensaries. “This may change as the Board continues to work through the regulations,” says Paonia Town Administrator and Clerk Corinne Ferguson. Applications and policies are expected to be implemented by May, but an exact date is still undetermined.
Also in Delta County, Cedaredge voters permitted recreational and medical marijuana retailers by 56 percent last November. Rules and regulations were approved February 25 but will not go into effect until April 2. Plans to schedule a timeline regarding the application process will be discussed on March 18 during a town board meeting. At the moment, the town has agreed on a cap of two recreational and two medical dispensaries.
Voters in Romeo, a small town of about 400 people in Conejos County off Highway 285, approved recreational marijuana by a thin margin in November. There are currently no marijuana business licenses issued in the town, which is still setting up pot regulations.
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