Marijuana business starting to grow on the Western Slope

PALISADE, Colo. (KJCT)-- This week marks the five year anniversary of recreational cannabis becoming legal in Colorado.

Our state was one of the first to legalize it after voters passed Amendment 64 back in 2012, but there are only a handful of cities who have embraced the sale.

"Come on down and enjoy the happiest block in North America,” said the General Manager for the Colorado Weedery, Matt Pittman.

Legal marijuana was once so taboo, is now part of Colorado’s everyday norm.

"It’s really a good thing I believe for folks,” said Western Colorado citizen Hugh Riger.

Increasing business for pot shops and towns.

"It has been fantastic we extremely busy every day,” said Pittman.

Colorado’s first recreational marijuana stores opened their doors in January of 2014.

"State by state are following suit and I really do believe from what I’m seeing that it's going to be beneficial to the states and to the government,” said Riger.

Although the state constitution says recreational marijuana is legal, it is actually up to the individual cities and counties to decide if they want the businesses to set up shop.

“That was put on the ballot by the board of trustees they wanted to know what the citizens thought about the idea and the citizens voted for it so then it’s our duty to do the best we can to implement it,” said the Town Administrator for the Town of Palisade’s Richard Sales.

Parachute, Glenwood Springs, De Beque, and Palisade are the only communities on the Western Slope to allow recreational pot shops.

"There was an election two years earlier where it did not pass but by just six votes and so the citizens asked that it be put on the ballot again two years later and that second time it did pass,” said Sales.

Palisade opened its first one only a month ago, after voters passed its legalization in last November’s election.

"We can present a responsible model and it’s going to be great for everybody not just Mesa County in general but for everyone else coming into Colorado to check it out,” said Pittman.

Of course, there are rules to keep in mind.

“We are still making arrests for illegal marijuana grows,” said Sales.

Both tourists and residents can purchase up to 28 grams in a single transaction.

Amendment 64 does not permit the consumption of marijuana openly and publicly, so before you light it up while walking down the street, remember that you can still get a ticket for doing so as its treated to similar to alcohol use.

The city may be new to retail pot, but medical pot has been available for the past 8 years.

"I think the people of Palisade were more comfortable with the idea since we have had medical for so long,” said Sales.

Thanks to added revenue from county sales, state retail, and the excise tax, the extra money means the town can make improvements.

"I know there hope is that some of this additional funding coming in from the sale of retail marijuana is going to be able to do some projects,” said sales.

With two more recreational pot shops set to open in Palisade in the coming months, we're told business in Western Colorado will continue to grow.

“I think this is just going to help make it more of a year round tourism place and really help bring people into the town of Palisade not just during those high times during the summer and festivals,” said Pittman.

The Colorado Weedery said they are looking forward to the extra competition from the two new shops opening in Palisade.

We're told there are still a few more things to take care of before they can open their shops.



 
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