DEBEQUE, Colo. The first retail marijuana shop in DeBeque and Mes County could be just a couple months from opening.
"If nothing changes in the immediate future then, yes, we will be the only store in the county," said Jim Roberts, owner of Kush Gardens.
The town manager has approved the application for completeness for Kush Gardens, which Jim Roberts, a DeBeque native, will run if it passes through the rest of the approval process.
"It is a hot area obviously because there is nothing established yet, so it is a good opportunity for a local to get in," Roberts said.
Roberts began the state's application process at the beginning of the year then found open commercial property in DeBeque right after the measure passed by four votes in April.
The proposed store is at 4550 Highway 6 and 24, right off the exit from I-70.
"Finding this spot was kind of like a golden ticket," he said. "We're lucky that we got it. We're glad that we got it and grateful."
Potential shop locations are difficult to find in DeBeque as retail marijuana can't be sold in residential neighborhoods or 1,000 ft from a school zone.
"Part of the reason we’ve only had one application is we don’t have a lot of structures, buildings that are already in place that are in approved places that have been zoned for this," said Guy Patterson, DeBeque's town manager.
The shop would bring in money for the town through a five percent sales tax on the marijuana.
"I think we can generate some tax dollars that the town isn't seeing and I think definitely they're in a position to take these dollars," Roberts said.
The next step in the process is for Kush Gardens to present to DeBeque's planning and zoning commission on September 8.
The town council would then have to approve it and issue a license.
However, because Kush Gardens would be a new retail marijuana business, the shop would have to wait until October 1 to open. That date is when Colorado will allow shops to sell retail marijuana even if they weren't a medical dispensary previously.