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A Regional Look At Retail Marijuana

Doug Tucker

The first batch of Colorado's recreational marijuana stores opened this month on New Years Day in Telluride, Breckenridge and Denver among other places, marking the beginning of what's expected to be a multi-million dollar industry.

The Colorado Legislative Council has predicted new taxes on the industry approved by voters under Proposition AA could bring about $5.9 million in revenues to local governments during the next fiscal year, and $67 million to the state coffers.

Reports from "Green Wednesday" spoke of long lines outside some of the shops and excited tourists who had driven through the night. A cute grandma and at least one county commissioner even got in on the action.

Cannabis Prohibition ends in Telluride from The WATCH on Vimeo.

Most recently, President Obama said in an interview with the New Yorker that he doesn't believe marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol.

Despite all the fanfare surrounding legalization in Colorado, there's still plenty of towns and cities across the state that have chosen to either ban the industry outright, put it on hold for now or to let voters decide on the issue. 

Amendment 64, the measure that legalized recreational pot in Colorado, gave towns and municipalities the right to ban some or all types of marijuana businesses. Here's a breakdown of how that's playing out here in western Colorado.

Amendment 64 also lets counties opt out of recreational pot sales. Delta, Montrose, Ouray, Mesa and Garfield Counties have placed an outright ban on marijuana facilities in the unincorporated parts of the counties.

That means pot shops, cultivation facilities (aka "grows"), or testing or manufacturing facilities can't pop up outside town limits and inside those counties. But it doesn't stop shops from opening within town limits where they're allowed. (Pot stores are allowed in Ridgway, but not outside town limits in Ouray County.)

Grow facilities are allowed in one specific "industrial park" in San Miguel County, but stores aren't allowed in the unincorporated areas. There's a moratorium in place in San Juan County, but commissioners there are working a resolution to opt in. 

Gunnison County also has a moratorium in place, but the county planning staff there is working to allow grows and manufacturing facilities, but they'll most likely be banning retail shops in the unincorporated areas.

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