Pueblo County commissioners expect the legalization of recreational marijuana sales in the county will eliminate underground sales.
A marijuana street dealer in Pueblo, who asked to be called Con, said retail shops will hurt his business. He said his suppliers are going to raise their prices to meet the price of recreational stores. Con said a " very high percentage" of marijuana sold on the streets comes from medical growers.
"People have been getting it from guys like me forever," Con said.
Adults 21 and older in Colorado can now trade in dark, shady alleys for a shiny, new pot shop.
"I am a strong believer in the legalization, so this is something that I've fought for too for many, many, many years is to see this happen," Con said.
Con has been selling marijuana in Pueblo for 10 years. He earns about $6,000 a year but says pot shops could take him off the streets.
"If it drives me to the point where I'm out of business, I'm good with that," Con said. "There's many people who need this that could lose their lives without it, so take my $6,000."
Once the novelty of marijuana sales wears off, Con believes he could see an increase in sales. He can sell an ounce of pot for at least $250 compared to more than $400 at retail stores. Still, Con said the variety in shops will be a factor.
Con said, "They have a selection, there is the difference. I might have two, three strains at a time where a place like that will have however many they can offer so you have the choice there."
Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace believes the black market in Pueblo will exist in the short term but he's adamant that a year or so from now it won't exist.