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Pot shop expansion grows on skeptics in Colorado

Residents in Aurora, Colorado, say they are pleasantly surprised by their new pot-selling neighbors
Colorado pot shop brings upgrades, unlikely benefits to community 03:02

When Colorado made recreational marijuana sales legal, they left it up to cities to decide on their own whether they wanted to allow pot stores. Aurora was one of the last places to permit such shops, but residents now say they are pleasantly surprised by their new neighbors, and they're reaping some unlikely benefits, reports CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen.

"All the money that we make from our sales revenue is going to stay in Aurora," Sweet Leaf owner Mathew Aiken said.

New rules for edible marijuana companies 02:11

Aurora had been waiting to see how the experiment in recreational pot sales would pan out in nearby Denver. In October, Aurora City Council finally approved the initiative and now a city that had no pot shops will allow 24.

One of those is Starbuds, recently opened by Brian Rudin, who already has two shops in Denver.

"The city of Denver has over 200 pot shops," Rudin said. "So the opportunity to operate a business with a little bit less competition seemed like a great opportunity."

But building in Aurora came at a price. Many local landlords didn't want to lease to a pot shop, and the city mandated strict building guidelines, so Rudin bought a small deteriorating strip mall.

The building had to be redone from top to bottom -- from a new roof to new paint on the front, right down to repaving the parking lot.

Rudin said so far, he's spent just under $1 million.

"I did it because I think that this is a great opportunity," he said. "In the long run, I believe it will be a worthwhile investment."

The marijuana welcome wagon now includes Kevin Hougen, president of the Aurora Chamber of Commerce. Pot shops like Terrapin Care Station are also now chamber members.

Hougen said other members have been excited to include them into the association.

"The calls have been, 'Where are the locations?'" he said.

Aurora is guaranteed new tax revenue, but for pot shop owners, it's a gamble to see if they can recover the hundreds of thousands they have invested just to get up and running.

Rudin is not sure exactly how long it will take him to turn a profit.

"It will be a magnitude of years, not months," he said.

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