During their board meeting, the trustees of Palisade decided to allow up to three recreational marijuana dispensaries inside town limits. The decision was made on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

The number includes an option for Colorado Alternative Health Care, Palisade’s only medical marijuana dispensary, to become one of the three recreational stores. Jesse Loughman, the owner of Colorado Alternative Health Care, is well aware of the option and hopes he can turn his store into a recreational facility.

“We anticipate that we will switch over,” Loughman said. “In May, we hope to have the regulations in place to start having local licenses and state licenses. By the end of the summer, we should have a facility open for recreational use.”

Colorado Alternative Health Care first opened their doors as medical dispensary in December of 2009. When Colorado made recreational marijuana legal in 2014, Loughman set his sights to make his store a retail facility.

“Medical marijuana is going to be around for awhile, but the economic driver in this business is recreational retail stores,” Loughman said.

The number of retail stores was voted on based on the number of Palisade residents. The current population is estimated to be around 2,600. If the town’s population increases by another 400, then a total of four recreational dispensaries could open in Palisade.

However, the trustees limited where the retail stores could open. Stores cannot be located in the town’s core or residential areas, but could open in all other zones if they are located at least 1,000 feet from schools.

Some of the trustees believe there should not be a limit on the number of facilities. They argued that residents of the much larger populated Grand Junction will vote soon to allow recreational marijuana.

The advocacy group Cannabis Access Now tried to get a measure placed on Grand Junction’s April ballot, but they failed to get enough signatures.

“It’s going to take a solid movement of people to get the signatures for the potential of marijuana getting on the ballot,” Loughman said.

Loughman believes a retail store will take 3-5 years to open up in Grand Junction.

“Hopefully, I’m wrong for the people of Grand Junction and Mesa County, but who knows,” Loughman said.

Besides the number of recreational facilities, the trustees allowed no limits to the number of marijuana cultivation facilities, manufacturing facilities and testing facilities inside the town limits.

 

Also on Feb. 14 the decisions by the board included:

First-time license fees of $5,000; and $2,000 annually for subsequent years.

Recreational marijuana store hours from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Stores can operate seven days a week.

No restrictions on the distances marijuana businesses can locate from each other.

Ventilation for all operations must be the best quality available.

Growing facilities must be indoors.

No square footage size limits on buildings that house marijuana businesses.

Businesses will not be allowed in a downtown “marijuana-free zone.”

Town of Palisade high on recreational marijuana dispensaries

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