Marijuana enforcement officials, city council members, and citizens all came together to discuss marijuana sales in the city, the timeline, and the economic impact at the 5th annual Western Colorado Economic Summit at the Grand Junction Convention Center on Thursday. City Council member, Abe Herman says, “Things we’ve come to consensus on is the cap of the number stores which is ten stores throughout the city. We have agreement from council on that, and the other item is the selection process for those ten stores which is a weighted lottery.”
Herman is pushing for store owners to give back to the community through non-profits and other ventures instead of just chasing profits. “Rather than it being pure chance, it will be weighted towards operators we feel are going to meet the goals and the vision we have for the community,” said Herman.
Also discussed were buffer zones of 1,000 feet from schools, 500 feet from parks, and rehabilitation facilities, but it could all change. Herman says, “Nothing is concrete at this point cause we haven’t adopted regulations yet.”
The marijuana city sales power point presentation may be done, but the city council policy discussions continue including a special tax rate of 6% with a total rate of over 26%. Community Development Director Tamra Allen says, “15% sales tax for marijuana, and that goes to the state. We get 10% of that back or 1.5%.”
Most decisions can change, but what won’t change is where the revenue is going. “For administration enforcement related to marijuana in the city is one. And, the second one is to the highest priorities of the recently adopted parks recreation open space master plan,” said Director Allen.
Also, the rules and regulations for where the stores are, and how many will be on Main Street or Horizon Drive have been taken into account by city council. “We won’t allow, at least on the first floor of retail locations from 1st to 7th on Main Street, and we have a similar request from Horizon Business Improvement District, that we not have a specific location, but that we have no more than two stores in their area.”
City council will hold another workshop on November 1st discussing the weighted lottery option to pick marijuana store owners, but there will be no public comment session.