GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
Voters said yes to tax and regulate marijuana businesses in Grand Junction, and the city council’s job is to decide the number, location, and tax rate of those stores. But, few decisions were made at the last city council workshop, and time is running out because the city starts licensing those stores in the first quarter of 2022.
Council member and Mayor Pro Tem, Anna Stout says, “We’re tackling a really complex topic here because it’s not as simple as saying, here’s how we’re going to do our marijuana regulations. There are so many factors to consider. Whether or not there’s a limit to the number of stores. Whether that’s a cap or determined by things like zoning and buffering, or sort of putting districts out there.”
During the council’s deliberation it was mentioned there are no caps on liquor stores and the council is looking to use that business model and implement new ways of processing helpful information. “One of the things we were looking at was based on a survey that was done,” said Stout.
It could be six stores or 22, and the last survey showed about 60% want ten or less stores, and about 40% want no limits to the amount of stores. Courtney Yoshimito isn’t a Grand Junction citizen, but weighs in on the conversation. “If there was a pot store here today I would have checked it out because there’s not much here. So, yeah I would’ve!” Her friend, Alexis Johnson is also a tourist and says even though they don’t use cannabis, curiosity would drive them to check out Marijuana stores, and they think other tourists would to. “Yeah, that would definitely bring more people. Just because a lot of people don’t know what it is, or they’ve never been to one,” said Johnson.
Chris Brown owns Brown Cycles in Downtown Grand Junction and doesn’t think pot stores on Main Street would drive business. “I don’t foresee masses of people buying bikes because they’re out buying pot,” said Brown.
City council did decide on the retail marijuana tax rate to be 6%, but that’s for now. Brown says, “Saying it’s going to increase tax dollars because it’s going to pay for schools and stuff. It creates more problems than it fixes, economically.”
The council also decided on a hybrid selection process for owning a marijuana store but they need to discuss the qualifications, and the selection criteria.
The next city council workshop meeting discussing more details on marijuana regulations is slated for Wednesday at 5:30pm. “These are just the very early stages of coming up with ultimately will be our marijuana retail regulations,” said Mayor Pro Tem Stout.