GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
It was a full house at the last city council meeting on Wednesday, July, 21 where citizens could practice their first amendment right and address city council for grievances.
After almost three hours, city council got to agenda item number five: marijuana store regulations. The council decided on a cap of ten stores and a 6% tax rate. Council also decided on keeping stores at least 1,000 feet from schools, 500 feet from parks and rehab facilities, and implementing buffer zones at the heart of the city. Mayor Pro Tem, Anna Stout says, “Direction was given to staff as it pertains to downtown area from 1st to 8th on Main Street. That those stores could not be on the ground level. So, they would either need to be on a second level, or a below ground level.”
What wasn’t decided was the selection process of the few who get to own a marijuana store in the city pressing on the nerves of pioneers forced to close their doors years ago. Dusty Higgins says he owned a marijuana dispensary in Grand Junction from 2009 to 2012. “They decided to close us down because they said it was going to impact schools, it was going to impact children which all turned out to be false, and they shut our stores down because of it,” said Higgins.
At the city council meeting discussing marijuana store regulations the public had a right to express themselves in three minutes or less. “You’re going to allow other people come in and apply for a license that I fought for, and I don’t think that’s fair,” said Higgins when addressing the council. The result of those minutes lead to change. Higgins says, “City council did give recognition that the previous owners should have a little bit more merit in the application process.” Mayor Pro Tem Stout says, “Whether it’s a lottery, a merit based system, or a hybrid system, we did not give direction to staff on that yet and council actually wants to have another workshop.”