Jul 28, 2010 5:24 PM by David Ortiviz

Pueblo sets tough restrictions on marijuana centers

It's official. Medical marijuana centers are now allowed in Pueblo. However, tough new zoning restrictions prohibit them from setting up shop throughout most of the city. A map of Pueblo displays areas shaded in orange, where medical marijuana centers can be located. The available sites are few and far between.

"We have to allow them now," said City Council Member Vera Ortegon who went on further to explain, "We also have to be careful of the image that we portray in Pueblo, and that's why we created a buffer zone."

On Monday, city council passed an ordinance to allow dispensaries, but they also created three buffer zones: the centers can't be set up within a thousand feet of schools, daycares, bars, or public buildings such as libraries; there's a 500 foot restriction from the interstate and hospitals; and a 250 foot buffer zone from homes and Highway 50.

This leaves only a few spots open--most of them along the outlining areas of Pueblo for dispensaries to set up shop. "Because of that, there was some concern by some City Council members that it was very restrictive," said Ortegon.

Some city council members brought up the idea of "specials plans" that would allow dispensaries to operate in business areas with approval from a licensing board, and feedback from the people who live and work nearby. City council didn't make any decisions on that topic. So for now, medical marijuana centers will be allowed in Pueblo but only in a small number of locations.

City council says it will require medical marijuana centers to have a city and state license to operate, and according to Ortegon, the state isn't approving new licenses until July 2011.

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