Aurora to enter retail marijuana foray

AURORA, Colo. — Aurora City Council study sessions are getting close to drawing up a plan for retail marijuana sales in the city, which saw medical marijuana turned down in 2010.

“We have the advantage of waiting and seeing how other cities have handled both retail and medical,” says Jason Batchelor, the city finance director. “Our plan is to rely on a ‘points system,’ which will give potential owners points and bonus points for having 400K, a safe or vault, extra security cameras and extra points for years in the business.”

Both Aurora and Glendale are looking at retail pot shops to help generate revenue and allow residents, who helped approve Amendment 64, purchase recreational marijuana.

Aurora is considering charging businesses $17,500 for an annual operating fee, but forgo a vote of the people for to implement the license and application fees Denver charges.

Glendale would have no fees, and pot shops would be treated like any other business in the city.

Denver utilizes a $2,000 application fee, and charges an additional $3,000 licensing fee every two years.

Aurora will try to spread out retail shop, putting four to six in each of the city’s six wards rather then concentrating them all in an area like West Colfax Avenue in North Aurora. Glendale has so few retail spots open they probably will have no trouble with this issue.

At stake, could be more than $1 million for city coffers in Aurora, but Batchelor says the city could gain about $2.3 million a year with 20 retail locations without adding special sales taxes to weed — that figure based on pot selling for $200 per ounce.

While Glendale’s time table is fluid, Aurora wants to implement something by Oct. 1, with proposals to Council set to come sometime in April.