COLORADO: Call it the pot patchwork.
When first-of-their-kind stores selling recreational marijuana are allowed to open in January, they look increasingly likely to be confined to only a handful of communities in the state. Dozens of Colorado cities and counties have in recent weeks voted to ban the stores — and their sibling cultivation and marijuana-infused products businesses.
That leaves only about 20 cities and counties likely to start accepting applications for recreational marijuana stores later this year and to allow the stores to open as early as Jan. 1, according to advocates. Of the 10 largest cities in Colorado, only Denver looks likely to initially allow pot shops.
Elected officials in at least 56 Colorado cities and counties have so far voted to ban the businesses. A number of those are small towns in rural areas — Del Norte, for instance, or Log Lane Village. But the list also includes some of the largest cities in the state. Thornton, Westminster, Centennial and Greeley have all barred the stores.
Colorado Springs, the second-largest city in the state, joined the group this week, when its City Council voted 5-4 to keep recreational pot shops out of the city. Council members opposed to the stores said they worried the shops would hurt existing businesses and cause the military to pull troops from Fort Carson.
“For us to move forward with this is not a responsible move from an economic development point of view,” Councilman Merv Bennett said at a meeting this week.