Marijuana sales could potentially add millions of dollars to city coffers if they are allowed to operate legally in Aurora, according to the city’s budget and finance office.
If marijuana shops were regulated like liquor stores — which must be kept at least 2,000 feet apart from other stores — Aurora would stand to gain approximately $2.7 million annually in sales tax and licensing fees, the city analysis estimates.
Those calculations, which projected about 80 marijuana stores in Aurora, were based on 2012 revenue reports from similar-sized cities that allow for medical marijuana operations, such as Denver, Colorado Springs and Boulder.
If marijuana shops were regulated more stringently, however, the city would see a significant drop-off in revenue, according to the report. Officials estimate marijuana shops would bring in about $912,000 annually in revenues under zoning restrictions that call for a 2-mile distance requirement.
And if they were regulated like sexually oriented businesses, which are allowed to operate only within industrial areas, the city estimates there would be only about six marijuana stores that would generate approximately $322,000 in sales tax and licensing fees.
The city is still mulling its reaction to Amendment 64, a voter-approved initiative that legalizes the recreational use of marijuana. Officials have a variety of options, including placing a moratorium on the shops or temporarily suspending them until the issue is sorted out at the state level.
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