PUEBLO — The first recreational marijuana shop in Pueblo city limits is set to open Saturday, nearly eight months after voters in the city of Pueblo allowed recreational marijuana stores to operate there.
Previously, recreational shops were only allowed in the county.
Nuvue Pharma, located on the city’s northside, is the first to be granted a recreational marijuana license from the city. The city cleared the way for eight recreational shops to open in Pueblo city limits earlier this year by giving preference to some business owners who already had a presence in Pueblo.
There were 13 license applicants. But the city dictated that no more than eight licences would be granted to prevent oversaturating the market. Some city council members also said they didn’t want to see several pot shops pop up in their neighborhoods. The Arkansas River acts as a divider — four will be on the south side of the river, and four on the north side.
“It’s a really long process,” Nuvue’s Katherine Avery said of being granted the first license.
Shops cannot begin placing orders for the retail they sell until they obtain the license. So Nuvue really hit the ground running when the license was issued, Avery added.
The shop, located at 4740 Dillon Drive, will be officially open Saturday, July 1, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Nuvue, started by Pueblo neurologist Malik Hasan, has been operating strictly as a medical dispensary up until the company received its recreational license on Friday. Before Friday, the dispensary allowed patients over the age of 18. But now that the recreational shop will share the same space as the medical dispensary the shop is strictly 21 and up.
The shop opening comes after a wake of controversy over recreational marijuana’s presence in Pueblo. Ballot initiatives in both the city and county asked voters whether the entire industry should be banned. Both failed.
Hasan was a fierce opponent of the ballot issues.
More shops in Pueblo city limits are anticipated to open in the coming months.
“We have a second applicant very close and will schedule final inspections once we are notified by the applicant,” said Cindy Cappritta, who has been handling the applications in the city clerk’s office.