The unincorporated areas of Adams County are now poised to take advantage of the business opportunities that Colorado’s new marijuana laws allow.Unlike neighboring Northglenn and Commerce City, unincorporated Adams County codes do not allow for medical marijuana. However, Adams County residents have spoken, and the recreational marijuana market will be regulated by the local government while the product will be sold and grown by local businesses.

Interested applicants so far outnumber available slots for marijuana business license openings that the county’s YouTube channel will be hosting a live lottery drawing to award licenses to selected applicants.

Averaging over 160 applicants per potential marijuana business opening, the county will only allow 10 new marijuana businesses this year. Licenses to grow, store, test and chemically infuse marijuana await lucky applicants. The lucky winners will be chosen on January 27, from the pool of 1,608 applicants who submitted completed paperwork between Jan. 2 and 22 before the 4:00 pm deadline.

Long before the announcement, the Board of County Commissioners formally designed the zoning requirements and operating regulations. After the announcement, the county government will further establish rules for 10 new businesses in the growing field of recreational marijuana, and they expect to use the entire year to test these policies.

Selected applicants will be pressured to legitimize business operations within 6 months of being selected. They will be required to obtain permits for buildings which means allowing time to apply for a change-of-use license to establish a marijuana business where there has not previously been one before. If all licenses and permits are not acquired within the 6 month timeline, the next applicant on the list will take their place.

New applications may also be accepted in coming years, and future marijuana businesses may open, depending on building space and other considerations.

For now, county officials and citizens alike are excited for recreational marijuana, which was approved last year. Last year, they also approved a 3 percent sales tax increase to be spread out among all retail sales. This will be included retail marijuana purchases, bringing the sales and taxes total up to 18.5 percent. This tax spike could account for an estimated $1.2 million in additional tax revenue, giving county government as much reason for excitement as its citizens and business owners.

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