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Aurora to expand retail marijuana store hours

Aurora to expand retail marijuana store hours
Aurora to expand retail marijuana store hours 02:37

Aurora is giving recreational marijuana dispensaries the green light to stay open later. The council unanimously approved the ordinance to expand retail hours Monday night. This comes as the city faces budget challenges amid a recent decline in cannabis tax revenue.

State regulations allow dispensaries to operate between 8 a.m. and midnight, with local municipalities able to regulate local store hours. When recreational cannabis was legalized, the city of Aurora decided dispensary hours should be 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

"The hype is still there, people are still consuming," said Starbuds Store Director Fadi Wahdam. "If you're in this area past 10 (p.m.), the nearest place to shop would be Denver."

Just about any time of day, there is a line of cannabis customers at the Starbuds dispensary on Arapahoe Road. But after dark, consumers in Aurora have to leave town to get their marijuana.


"Ten years in the industry, if our neighboring cities are open 'til midnight, then we should be also," Wahdam said.

That's precisely why Aurora City Council Member Curtis Gardner sponsored an ordinance to change retail marijuana store hours to match state guidelines -- 8 a.m. to midnight; the same as liquor stores.

"We always say let's treat retail cannabis like any other business," Gardner told CBS New Colorado's Kelly Werthmann, "and yet we had this sort of special carve out where we didn't treat them like any other business."

It's a move, Gardner says, that not only supports local business but may boost tax revenue.

"We need all the revenue we can get," he said.

Over the last decade, Gardner explained marijuana tax revenue has funded big projects in Aurora like multi-million-dollar recreation centers and much-needed road repairs. However, a recent decline in pot sales has forced the city to scale back other programs, such as homeless services.

"All cities have seen a decrease in marijuana revenue for a variety of factors," explained Gardner. "Other states have legalized it…the novelty has worn off."

To be blunt, Gardner said the extra two hours of business likely won't make a big difference in local tax revenue, however, something is better than nothing.

"Every little bit helps going towards those core city services that we're providing using that cannabis revenue," he said.

All by giving cannabis customers a bit more time to shop local.

"Customers will shop closer to where they work and live, and the city will make their tax revenue," said Wahdam.

Aurora dispensaries can expand their operating hours to midnight beginning Aug. 8.

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