The city issued the first two local recreational marijuana business licenses Tuesday afternoon.
Businesses now must wait for city inspections before opening their doors. However, Durango Organics, which was licensed Tuesday, may open as early as next week, co-owner Jonny Radding said.
On July 1, the city opened the application process for recreational-marijuana retailers. However, a citizen initiative requesting the shops be blocked from opening in certain neighborhoods put the application process on hold until mid-August, said Nicol Killian, the city planning manager.
The required application packets for business owners were thick, but the requirements were similar to state-required information, business owners said.
“It’s something that we’re used to in this industry ... nothing happens fast,” said John Menzies, owner of Animas Herbal Wellness Center.
A local licensing hearing on Tuesday afternoon was the first opportunity for businesses to receive the city’s seal of approval. Only businesses with medical marijuana licenses can apply through the state and city this year, making the pool of applicants fairly small, City Manager Ron LeBlanc said.
Animas Herbal Wellness Center, on Camino del Rio, also received approval to start selling recreational marijuana. But the store’s owner doesn’t expect to start selling recreational products until mid-October, when construction work on the building is expected to be finished.
The city also licensed Aurum Labs, the town’s first testing facility for recreational marijuana. This company will be testing raw marijuana and infused marijuana products for their potency and microbial content. The company will be making sure marijuana projects are safe and properly labeled before they are sold, said Tyler D’Spain, managing director.
Laboratory Director Luke Mason said required testing and labeling was an important step forward in legitimizing the industry. The two expect to have strong local demand for their services.
“Everyone is interested,” Mason said.
The new testing facility will be in a warehouse on Tech Center Drive. Most marijuana test centers are currently in Denver.
There are two more recreational businesses that are in the queue to be approved next month, and one more application is pending, Killian said.