BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – One tourist destination in Colorado’s high country is rethinking its ban on selling recreational marijuana in its downtown area.
The Breckenridge Town Council is taking up the issue that has passionate feelings on both sides. The question now is, do retail pot shops on Main Street deter from appealing to tourists, or are they in fact a tourist attraction?
“We’re really trying to fight and keep our downtown location, but as of right now they’ve asked us to leave at the end of our lease,” Breckenridge Cannabis Club owner Caitlin McGuire said.
Her lease is up at the end of the summer.
“We were just killing the day walking around, we just stumbled across it and thought we’d pop in and check it out,” Bob Phillips said about visiting the Breckenridge Cannabis Club.
Phillips is like most customers at the Breckenridge Cannabis Club — he’s on vacation.
“This is a tourist attraction, and this is a tourist attraction in itself,” Phillips said.
“I would say easily over 90 percent of the people that come into our store and purchase are tourists,” McGuire said. “They are staying in the hotels downtown, shopping at the retail shops downtown. And like I said, about 90 percent of our customers are from out of state.”
But a law passed by the Breckenridge Town Council in 2013 said no pot shops on Main Street. The Breckenridge Cannabis Club was allowed to stay through their lease.
“We’re basically asking the town council to reconsider their decision,” McGuire said.
The police chief surveyed other mountain towns, local businesses and residents.
“Pretty much we got a stronger response for not allowing it on Main Street from the citizens, but it wasn’t a landslide,” Chief Shannon Haynes with Breckenridge police said.
“From a tax stand point I would think the city would encourage it, but on the other side, tourism, it might conflict with younger kids,” Phillips said.
Downtown Breckenridge used to have three medical marijuana dispensaries, but two went out of business before legalization. Right now the town has two other recreational shops in the industrial area on the northern end of town.
“I think our discrete location and just the fact that we haven’t made a big splash downtown since the beginning of 2014 will help with the fears of council,” McGuire said.
But if the law isn’t changed, McGuire says the future is uncertain.
“We have tried very hard for a Plan B, Plan C or D, but there aren’t a lot of options,” she said.
One thing the Breckenridge Cannabis Club is hoping the town looks at is tax revenue, which is about 2 percent right now. It’s called “Weedtail” in Breckenridge and it’s up 350 percent the first four months of the year compared to the year before when only medical sales were legal.
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