Future Marijuana Operators in Cripple Creek Still Must Undergo Waiting Game

Local Officials to Soon Decide on Cannabis  Winners and Losers


Rick Langenberg


The city of Cripple Creek recently succeeded in beating the time clock in approving a detailed set of rules, policies, fees and guidelines pertaining to the  landing of marijuana retail operations, prior to the expiration of a six-month moratorium on the official processing of cannabis shop applications.


Now, the real fun part of the reefer process begins, as local officials will determine the ultimate marijuana winners and losers in the showdown for the top two.


The city still is not quite ready to accept any applications for what will become dual licenses for outlets that sell medicinal and recreational weed.


“We are currently working on the application (for a future marijuana license holder).  We will not take applications until the ordinances are effective,” said City Administrator Frank Salvato, in an email.  He said the ordinance implementation period still must undergo a 30-day publication notice period, which recently just started.


The city recently went through a rigorous process for the last month and a half in okaying a spree of marijuana ordinances and resolutions, and scheduled fees and rules following a series of public meetings. Elected leaders mainly had to decide where these future reefer shops could be located and the buffer requirements from parks, schools, churches and even some museums. The future reefer stage for Cripple Creek was actually laid out during an earlier public workshop in April. The voters of Cripple Creek strongly approved a ballot measure last November to open the door for the sale of legal marijuana on a limited basis.


In essence, the city council recently decided to sport two marijuana operators, which is much less than what the current demand calls for. They also okayed an application fee of $10,000 and a tax on the sale of legal weed at 18 percent. Plus, city leaders decided to restrict marijuana operations to retail and medical and not to engage in cannabis hospitality clubs, cultivation or manufacturing.


Once the final green light is signaled, the city will take applications and key staff members will score them based on a detailed set of criteria. This cannabis  license criterion was approved by the council as part of a selection ordinance. Of all the marijuana rules decided on, this one turned out to be the trickiest measure and required two meetings to resolve. This marijuana criterion deals with such measures as the experience level of the applicant, their financial business plan, local ties to the community and much  more.


The big reefer winners will then have the opportunity to submit their plans before council, which must get okayed by a conditional use permit process.


The big unanswered question, though, hinges, on  when will the first reefer shop in Cripple Creek open their doors. City officials are still  pleading the Fifth on this question and are not making any predictions.


Current budget estimates aren’t predicting much revenue for legal cannabis operations in Cripple Creek this year, if any.