AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – The marijuana industry in Colorado is about to get a little bigger as the state’s third largest city is finalizing plans to sell recreational marijuana.
Right now Aurora does not allow medicinal or recreational pot, but now that the city decided to allow recreational pot, the city council will leave some of the details of the new law up to voters in November.
Veteran Mark Pitt travels from his home in Aurora to Denver every time he fills his medical marijuana prescription.
“It would be a lot more convenient for me to shop in Aurora than to go all the way to Denver to get my medicine,” Pitt said.
It’s an errand he’ll soon not have to run.
“Our residents are going to be smoking marijuana,” City Councilman Bob LeGare said.
LeGare said Aurora marijuana sales have been a hot topic at meetings for months as they looked at how other cities like Denver trail-blazed the industry.
“We have never allowed it in Aurroa before. It’s brand new to us and we wanted to get it right,” he said.
First the city has put a cap on the number of retail stores at 24 — far less than the more than 200 in Denver. The city will also start a brand new point system for businesses applying to sell recreational pot. Any ties would be broken by a lottery.
“Points for things like past experience in industry,”LeGare said.
Aurora voters will decide how much they want to pay on the November ballot. In a city council meeting on Monday night the city decided to ask voters for a 2 percent excise retail tax on marijuana and a 5 percent tax on growers. That would be less than Denver’s tax of 3.5 percent to purchase marijuana and would be on top of statewide special taxes, potentially bringing in more than $5 million annually to the city.
“If it’s going to happen, I think we should have the ability to get some of the revenues,” LeGare said.
The first day of pot sales in Aurora will be Oct. 1.
As of right now the money the city gets from marijuana retail sales will go into the general fund, but some councilmembers like LeGare would like to use the funds to combat some of the potential social repercussions like drug addiction programs and law enforcement.
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