City unveils plan for 21 retail marijuana shops in Aurora city limits


AURORA | City officials have awarded retail marijuana licenses to 21 stores that will be able to open by October 1. The city received 58 applications for 24 available licenses.

Aurora is only allowing four marijuana businesses per ward, under its 22-page marijuana ordinance that was passed earlier this year. The city still has three licenses available, and will be accepting new applications Sept. 2. Ward VI in the city’s southeastern corner is the only ward without four shops.

Earlier in the year, the city unveiled a complex scoring system for awarding its retail marijuana businesses. The point system set several base criteria for licenses, including location, prior experience and cash on hand, and awarded bonus points for additional cash, increased security measures and air filtration systems.

The Green Solution dispensary received the most licenses, with four stores set to open in Aurora Wards I, II, III, and IV. The dispensary already has four locations, with two in Denver, one in Lakewood and one in Northglenn. All of the locations except for Lakewood sell recreational and medical marijuana.

“Most of it was because of their business and operating plans,” said  Robin Peterson, who heads the city’s marijuana enforcement division, when asked why the dispensary received so many licenses. “They also had a very good description on their security plans. And their filtration system was very satisfactory, over and above.”

Brian Ruden, owner of Starbuds Dispensary in Denver, applied for two licenses and received only one to operate in Aurora’s Ward I.  “The application process in Aurora was extremely difficult,” he said. “The fact Starbuds was awarded a license says a lot about who we are and what we stand for.”

Ruden said the biggest challenge for completing the application was finding a location where a landlord was willing to sell that also fit Aurora’s requirements that the site be 1000 feet from a school and 500 feet from a hospital. He added that the city’s high standards, which at minimum require applicants to have at least $400,000 of liquid assets, made for intense competition between experienced, mostly Denver-based dispensaries. “I spent several months drafting and going over and redrafting the business plan and operating plan,” he said.

Peterson said the applications for the three remaining licenses in Ward VI will be open through October 15. She added that businesses who applied during the first wave of applications will not have to go through the pre-application meeting, but will have to re-submit the rest of their materials.

The following businesses have been awarded a license, according to a statement by the city:

· Ward I: 3LP LLC, 1401 Peoria St.; The Green Solution, 1450 Havana St.; Starbuds, 1408 Del Mar Parkway, Unit B2; and Altitude Aurora, 10455 E. Colfax Ave.

· Ward II: Terrapin Care Station, 11900 E. 33rd Ave.; 3LP LLC, 6403 N. Jackson Gap St.; The Green Solution, 14301 E. Colfax Ave.; Mountain States Group, LLC, 719 Billings St.

· Ward III: Terrapin Care Station, 11091 E Mississippi Ave, Suite B; Lightshade, 503 Havana St.; The Green Solution, 350 S. Potomac St.; Sweet Leaf, 15200 E. Sixth Ave., Unit 1

· Ward IV: The Green Solution, 3179 S. Peoria Court; Medicine Man Aurora, 1901 S. Havana St.; Rocky Road Aurora, 2224 S. Fraser St., Unit 6; Colorado Harvest Company, 11002 E. Yale Ave.

· Ward V: Lightshade, 5380 S. Parker Road; Good Chemistry, 16840 E. Iliff Ave.; Euflora, 4343 S. Buckley Road; Colorado Harvest Company, 14655 E. Arapahoe Road

· Ward VI: Euflora, 6260 S. Gun Club Road