Colorado: Pueblo County Approves Recreational Marijuana Sales

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Commissioners in Pueblo County, Colorado on Wednesday night finalized rules for recreational marijuana sales beginning next year, limiting the number of pot shops to 10 and setting zoning rules and licensing fees.

That makes Pueblo County one of only seven Colorado counties that have decided to allow cannabis sales, likely making it a southern marijuana mecca for those who live in pot-dry areas like Colorado Springs and El Paso County, reports Megan Schrader at The Gazette of Colorado Springs.

"That's kind of the way I see it," said Josh Behling, manager of Steel City Meds in unincorporated Pueblo West. "We're kind of an an island right here. It's an hour to Denver (from Colorado Springs) and 30 minutes to Pueblo."

The only other places which have decided so far to allow marijuana sales in southern Colorado are Saguache, Huerfano, and Costilla counties. There are moratoriums on retail sales in place in Manitou Springs, Pueblo and Canon City until later in 2014.

Recreational pot sales won't begin anywhere in Colorado until state retail licenses are issued to the shops, beginning on January 1.

Behling said his store would submit an application next week for a state license, and will then try to get one of the 10 licenses Pueblo County has to offer.

There are six existing medical marijuana dispensaries in Pueblo County, with four more pending applications. Recreational licenses are only available to currently licensed medical marijuana dispensaries for now, under state law.

Colorado voters last November approved Amendment 64, which legalized the use, possession and sale of cannabis to anyone over 21. Adults can also grow up to six marijuana plants.

Marijuana sales have been banned in the municipalities of Colorado Springs, Blanca, Calhan, Del Norte, Castle Rock, Fountain, Palmer Lake, Green Mountain Falls, Monument, and Woodland Park.

Additionally, the counties of El Paso, Rio Grande, Alamosa, Las Animas, Baca, Prowers, Bent, Crowley, Kiowa, Lincoln, Cheyenne, Otero, Custer and Fremont counties have banned recreational marijuana sales, according to the Colorado Municipal League.