Smaller buffer zone for Pueblo County pot shops, will Springs expand?

Posted at 10:43 PM, Jul 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-26 00:43:38-04

Rules for pot shops in Colorado Springs could be changing and in Pueblo it’s already a done deal. 

The issue on the table-buffer zones or the distance allowed between pot shops. 

Earlier this week the Board of Pueblo County Commissioners voted unanimously to shorten the buffer zone between pot shops. However, in Colorado Springs it’s the opposite. There is no buffer zone at all, but a proposal is looking to change that. 

Tom Scudder said, "A lot of these businesses are not doing well. There’s way too many of them in the town. Sales are going down."
Scudder is the owner of A Wellness Centers in Colorado Springs and he says it’s time for a change. 

"This is an attempt that probably should’ve been done a number of years ago. Most communities in the state had already done this five, six, seven years ago."

Scudder wants the city to create a 1,000 foot buffer zone in between medical marijuana shops in Colorado Springs. 

"We went from like 60 or 70 three, four years ago to 128 today and so that provides even more of a challenge for somebody who is on a certain corner."

The proposal is sparking a lot of discussion among city council members like Jill Gaebler who said, "It does seem very protectionist."

The concern is that if the city’s moratorium on licensing shops is lifted that future businesses would suffer. 

City Councilman Bill Murray said, "How many legal establishments could you have…I would argue very few when you got done with a 1,000 feet here, a 1,000 feet here."

The Colorado Springs City Council won’t vote on this for a few more weeks, but in Pueblo County it’s full steam ahead for retail and medical shops. 

Commissioner Terry Hart says when marijuana licensing was first established a few years ago people wanted distance between shops. However, in the last year the county has received different feedback. 

‘"They said "gosh, if we’ve got to have these things it’d be kind of nice if they were kind of all together some place."’

Commissioners voted this week to change the county’s buffer zone from 2,500 feet to a 1,000 feet.

Patrick Medley, supervisor at Ripe Dispensary, said, "I think the buffer between shops getting smaller isn’t going to be a bad thing at all…now you’re going to have these areas where pot shops will kind of strengthen the industry that we’re creating."

He hopes that this new rule will increase foot traffic and blaze up new business. 

Commissioner Hart wants to stress that the buffer zone between marijuana shops and places like schools is not changing. It will remain at 1,000 feet. News 5 is still waiting to hear when the new ordinance will take effect and will keep you updated as well as what Colorado Springs City Council decides.