Aurora votes to allow recreational pot shops

Posted10/23/2019 5:30 AM

Aurora will allow recreational marijuana businesses -- but the city doesn't want the pot shops clumped together in one area or on one street.

Aldermen voted 9-1 Tuesday to allow the businesses as special uses under the city's zoning law, but added provisions prohibiting more than one dispensary on any arterial street.


Alderman Sherman Jenkins proposed that, saying it would help people in the new businesses thrive.

Dispensaries will only be allowed on arterial streets, and won't be allowed next door to any licensed preschools or day-care centers, within 750 feet of a school, or within 1½ miles of each other.

Alderman Robert O'Connor was the only one who voted against the proposal, which will let dispensaries, cultivation centers, manufacturing and processing businesses as special uses under the city's zoning regulations. He said he thought the state had rushed the issue without fully exploring possible negative impacts. "I think the policy that the state passed is bad policy," O'Connor said.

But Alderman Emmanuel S. Lewis welcomed the move. "This was long overdue," he said, adding that the nation's "war on drugs" is outdated and harmful to the community.

He voted against the day-care amendment and against one that would have prohibited pot businesses within 1,000 feet of a school. He saw them as unnecessary restrictions on businesses. "The babies next door -- the preschool kids -- are not going to get high off it," Llamas said, pointing out that state law will prohibit consuming marijuana in dispensaries. As for the distance from schools, "Do we think an 8-year-old is going to go in to a dispensary, present a fake ID and buy marijuana?"

Aldermen Juany Garza and Judd Lofchie were absent.

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