While communities across the region race to implement marijuana laws in wake of Amendment 64, Garden City awaits the day it can enhance its existing cannabis industry. The small town on the outskirts of Greeley was founded in 1938 as a place to get alcohol at a time when Greeley wouldn't allow it. It may be less than 1 square mile, but it is home to about 60 business, 325 residents, seven bars and four medical marijuana shops -- something Mayor Brien Seifried said has helped the community grow and has "brought some new energy."
"We were a little worried about what could be associated with the business, but I feel like we've got a good group of operators who are conscious of our community and want to see it grow and prosper," he said.
Rather than have city staff spend time reviewing potential ordinance changes ahead of the state's recommendations, he said, they will wait to see how things develop.
"I'm looking forward to seeing what the recreational (marijuana) could bring to the community," he said. "I think Garden City got lucky with a group of people ... trying to do everything by the book as much as they can."
-- Analisa Romano
Here is a summary of how some northern Colorado communities are approaching the marijuana issue:
--Windsor will vote April 8 on a set of ordinances that would ban retail sales, the growing of the plant and private clubs from around the community.
--Fort Collins: The focus has remained mostly on medical pot shops, which were allowed back in the city after a citizen-backed initiative passed in November. Leaders have yet to really dive into the recreational side of the industry.
--Greeley: Mayor Tom Norton has said last week that the city council is monitoring what is happening at the state level and is awaiting recommendations. He said the council will likely begin discussing the future of marijuana more in depth this summer.
--Loveland: The city council has largely taken a wait-and-see approach and is expected to discuss the matter further this spring.
--Berthoud: The town board in February unanimously passed an emergency ordinance banning the recreational retail and distribution side of the industry.
--Garden City: Mayor Brien Seifried has expressed optimism about working with the marijuana industry, citing success from the small city's existing medical marijuana shops. Though awaiting guidance from the state, he said there remains a potential for revenue and stronger relationships with industry.
Just a few miles separate Windsor's quaint Main Street from Fort Collins' Old Town. The two communities share lifestyles and affluence and often mirror each other across an interstate, bridged literally and figuratively by Colo. 392. The business leaders of Windsor may frequent the quaint shops in its neighbor to the west. The retired residents and fitness fanatics may flock to the Poudre River Trail, a gateway cutting across both communities before continuing east to the agricultural center of Greeley.
In many ways, the communities of Windsor and Fort Collins share more similarities than differences -- although their residents clearly are aware of and proud of their separate identities. But when it comes to marijuana and its consumption and sale, made possible by Amendment 64, Windsor is following a path more closely aligned with Greeley, its neighbor to the east.
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