When recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado in 2012, not all cities welcomed the green rush with open arms. Cities like Colorado Springs, Greely, Castle Rock, and Broomfield are but a few who have bans on recreational pot shops. Until recently, Longmont was on this list. Not long ago this ban was lifted.
Longmont Lifts Ban on Medical and Retail Marijuana Shops
At the beginning of October in a split 4-3 vote, the final approval was given to allow medical and recreational cannabis sales in Longmont. The ordinance will allow up to four businesses to sell cannabis and cannabis products within city limits. Pot shops aren’t expected to be popping up anytime soon though.
First the city will need to advertise for interested applicants of the four businesses. It will then take up to ten months to a year to choose the final four candidates. Further reviews of the business plans will then need to be made to determine permission distribute licenses and begin to move forward.
Support of Pot Shop Sales in Longmont Strongly Divided
Residents of Longmont have mixed emotions. Most welcome the idea. But many don’t. Support is strongly divided. Several are adamantly opposed.
Take Tuscany Court resident Lon Stevens. During the public hearing, Stevens expressed how he “can’t imagine it boosts the city’s image.” He feels it’s just as easy for medical and recreational customers to buy marijuana in dispensaries just outside city limits.
Councilman Brian Bagely (one of three council votes against lifting the ban) expressed a similar sentiment. He believes that people buying marijuana have “plenty of access to those things” outside the city limits. He also believes that having retail pot shops in the city is something that is “going to hurt our kids.”
Resident Brian Governson also strongly opposed the ban. “You are, in effect,” he said, “allowing the Mexican cartel to set up shop in our community.” He also questioned if the city was so in need of income that it needed to “go down this path.”
Not Everyone Opposed to Longmont Marijuana Shops
Joan Pack, councilwoman who voted to lift the ban had this to say to the opposition. “You have said with your votes what you want us to do.” She believes city council is to reflect the wishes of its voters. 66 percent of voters in Boulder county after all, voted in favor of Amendment 64.
Council members in favor of lifting the ban also referred to more “reasonable access” for medical patients. Opponents argued people who use medical marijuana could just grow their own. Or get it from a medical caregiver. They would also, of course, still have access to their medicine…just outside city limits.
Even Mayor Dennis Coombs is on board. Coombs who said he “personally doesn’t think” cannabis is “worse than” or “as bad as alcohol.”
The majority of Longmont residents are in support of pot shops in their city. And though they faced some serious opposition, their voices have been heard.