When marijuana was legalized for retail/recreational purposes in the state of Colorado in 2012, cities and counties had the ability to restrict the retail market from existing within their borders. Many cities decided to do just that. Thornton, the state’s 6th largest city right out said no to all retail cannabis related businesses. 4 years later, though, they are starting to see what they are missing out on. A recent 5-4 vote by the Thornton City Council will change that moving forward. Starting Sept. 1st the city will start accepting applications from individuals who wish to open a dispensary in the city.
The change will allow for 4 retail marijuana dispensaries to open within the city limits, which is one in each quadrant. During the city council meeting where the vote took place, there were many opponents who did not like the idea of retail marijuana stores opening up shop in their cities. Many of these prohibitionists stated things such as it would “increase youth consumption.” I’m not sure where they are getting their information but since cannabis was legalized in the state, consumption by young adults and youth has decreased.
There are strict regulations surrounding where the dispensaries will be able to open specifically including but not limited to the following;
-At least 1,000 feet away from schools
-No less than 500 feet away from day care centers
-No less than 500 feet away from drug treatment centers
Applicants wishing to open a dispensary in the city will be graded on a point system much like potential applicants are vetted in Aurora.
The changes voted on by the council also pave the way to allow for marijuana testing facilities down the road. They will not, however, be allowing for cultivation facilities or infused-product makers.
Once sales begin the city stands to make some big bucks that will go to benefit the city as well as the communities of residents that live there. Estimates show that the city could stand to make anywhere between $1.5 million and $2.5 million annually from the taxes they will collect on retail marijuana sales. Can you imagine what $1.5 million could do for a city? This is the exact question that got the gears in the minds of many of the city council members turning in the direction of supporting retail sales in the city. While it may sound sad that money was the driving factor, just think about how much the city will gain from this decision!
image: Ed Andrieski, The Associated Press