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When our nation’s future dangled on election night last November, voters in Colorado took a giant step forward with commercial marijuana. And of the ten cities that considered selling marijuana for recreational use in the November 2020 election, eight voted in favor.
Now, four months after the election, we’re starting to see when pharmacies will open or get licenses in these cities. Here is an update on the respective schedules in these eight cities:
Lakewood is already home to medical dispensaries and is in the process of drawing up recreational licenses after 66 percent of voters approved a citizen vote in November.
The new law only allows existing medical dispensaries with a good reputation with the city to apply for recreational licenses, making a total of ten marijuana recreational pharmacies in the city. According to the deputy city administrator Ben Goldstein, four pharmacies have expressed interest in the preliminary application process. However, Goldstein says the timeframe for posting recreational sales to the public is still up in the air and depends on the speed at which applications are processed.
Littleton, which also houses only medical dispensaries, saw 57 percent of voters sell recreational pots in November. And like in Lakewood, local law has a cap that allows existing medical businesses to apply for recreational licenses only. However, unlike Lakewood, Littleton citizens can already start buying recreational marijuana. Ascend Cannabis began selling to adults on February 26th. Stan Zislis, Chief Business Development Officer at Silver Stem Fine Cannabis, hopes the long-standing medical pharmacy will open its doors to recreational herbs by the end of March.
Broomfield’s 2A election initiative passed nearly 57 percent in November, preparing the city for the sale of recreational pots. The city currently has no pharmacies and, according to city clerk Danee Brouillard, is “in the process of reviewing and approving rules and regulations”. A second and final reading is planned for March 16. Once the regulations are approved, the application process is scheduled to open 60 days from May 3rd.
Hiking near Buena Vista.
Residents of popular tourist destination Buena Vista voted 55.5 percent for recreational marijuana stores last November. The city just completed the first phase of applying for recreational licenses on March 8th and is expected to process and issue licenses soon, according to the local government.
Up in Weld County, Fort Lupton still has no clear road ahead as the city voted last year to allow recreational marijuana stores. During a town hall meeting on March 9th, Fort Lupton town council members postponed drawing up solid plans to have a schedule of applications and licenses in place by the end of March.
Paonia, a Delta County parish, is still reviewing retail marijuana rules and regulations after voters approved pharmacies up 65 percent last year. However, the small town currently has a cap that allows one pharmacy per trading block, which limits the city to a maximum of six pharmacies. “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 in May, but the exact date has not yet been determined.
Also in Delta County, Cedaredge voters allowed 56 percent of recreational and medical marijuana retailers last November. The rules and regulations were approved on February 25th but will not come into effect until April 2nd. Plans to establish a timetable for the application process will be discussed during a meeting of the city council on March 18. Currently, the city has agreed an upper limit of two recreational and two medical pharmacies.
Voters in Romeo, a small town of about 400 in Conejos County on Highway 285, approved recreational marijuana by a narrow margin in November. There are currently no marijuana business licenses in the city that still have pot regulations in place.
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Hilal is a Metropolitan State University of Denver alumni with a degree in political science. She has written for Denver Life Magazine and 303 Magazine, and is the current cannabis intern for Westword.