As the city's moratorium on retail pot sales approaches, the line to open a medical marijuana dispensary is beginning to form. Three locations are being considered as potential spots for a dispensary.
Pueblo has allowed medical dispensaries for several years but tough zoning regulations have kept potential business owners away.
"My personal opinion is that the medical marijuana zoning regulations were put in place to make it nearly impossible for a business to operate," said Councilwoman Ami Nawrocki.
Michael Tapia, a bud manager at Marisol Therapeutics, believes people are seeking a medical marijuana license to operate in the city in the hopes that council members will soon allow retail shops. Before a recreational store can open in the city, that business must operate a medical marijuana dispensary in city limits.
"There's a lot of people that just can't get out to the county parts of the town. Public transportation doesn't come out here. There's a lot of medical patients that can't make it out here," Tapia said.
Three people are in the process of filing paperwork with the city to open a dispensary. Karen Elgin, a land use technician, said it's a lengthy process that begins by obtaining a certificate of application. Louis Longo is the first person to have cleared that process. The city has determined that his proposed site at 2630 W. Pueblo Blvd., the current Cars 4 Less business, meets the city's zoning requirements.
Two other people are in the process of seeking a certificate of application: Don Pagano, site located at 2729 Farabaugh, and Steven Montoya at 21 Monarch Lane.
Ami Nawrocki said she wants to ease zoning restrictions so potential business owners don't encounter unnecessary roadblocks. She, along with Councilman Steve Nawrocki, said they're ready to cash in on what's proven to be a successful business in the county.
Steve Nawrocki said, "We benefit no revenue from it and we know our citizens, our constituents, are going out there buying it yet we're not benefiting from it."
Pueblo County expects to collect nearly $56,000 from tax revenue based on January pot sales alone.
"If they're not thinking about it, they should be," Tapia said. "It is a lot of extra revenue."
The city's moratorium expires March 31.