Oct 9, 2013 8:37 PM
It's official- Pueblo County is in the recreational marijuana business. Sales will be allowed, and that's a first in southern Colorado. This has been the focus of fierce debate for months. Now county leaders are combing through regulations, like zoning and licensing fees, which are being met with opposition.
Luis Hernandez is an entrepreneur who wants to open his own marijuana business in Pueblo County.
"We're going to be in a strip mall, but within 250 ft. is a residential area," says Hernandez.
That's a problem. Originally, commissioners said businesses can't be within 250 ft. of a neighborhood.
But Hernandez argues there's an adult book store in the same strip mall.
Commissioners say they're going to take a second look at the zoning regulations, and revisit the issue on October 21.
Here's what's set in stone- business owners will have to pay more than $10,000 to the county for licensing fees. For an establishment that wants to provide both recreational and medical marijuana, that fee would double.
After listening to opposition, commissioners have agreed to cut down renewal fees to $2,500. Mike Stetler, the owner of Marisol Therapeutics says that's not enough.
"We're talking with other dispensary owners. Can we afford it? We don't know," he says.
Something both commissioners and business owners agree on, they won't know the full impact of the regulations until after the marijuana businesses open its doors.
"Hopefully we can work together and be a role model, not only for Colorado, but for the United States," says Pueblo County Commissioner Buffy McFadyen.