Three things will stay with me until I die. The time my 60-something typing teacher said, “groovy” in 1972, and I laughed out loud. The first time I saw a gray-hair using an iPhone. And the Aurora City Council bragging about local retail pot shops staying open later than those in Denver.
As staff writer Rachel Sapin points out in her cover story this month, Aurora has not exactly been a bastion of vice and Bacchanalia over the past 100 years. This is a city that sent officials into nascent adult “novelty” stores when they sneaked into strip malls to measure the square footage of displays of, um, toys and movies, compared to racks filled with saucy greeting cards and bedroom costumery. I saw them do it myself.
The city has for decades forbidden bare-breast bars, iffy massage parlors and late-night foolery. It’s the same city that pretty much orchestrated a voter-approved ban on medical marijuana shops a few years ago.
So here we are now, watching the city’s righteous on the right find ways to ensure that 24 Aurora retail recreational marijuana shops are best poised for success. They’re open later than other metro area stores, and, get this, customers will pay less in sales tax than in Denver.
If I was smoking the stuff, I’d think it was all a misunderstanding. But Sapin explains how and why Aurora got hip to the idea that marijuana prohibition really is over, and anyone who doesn’t understand that is leaving money on the table.
Rather than tiptoe around the fact that there will soon be nearly a dozen evenly distributed pot shops conveniently placed in every ward in the city, Aurora officials are coming out with a bong to welcome everyone to the retail high life.
Even though it looks like city types are going to stand back and see what they’ve done, don’t be surprised when Aurora starts renaming streets and neighborhoods to make a point. It’s happened before. When the University of Colorado came to the city to open the medical school and called it the University of Colorado at Denver, Aurora re-named the main street into the campus “Aurora Parkway.” And when Denver re-named DIA’s Airport Boulevard Peña Boulevard? Aurora built a massive monument on the road telling people they’ve been welcomed to Aurora.
Expect the blue-green thread of happiness to influence city hall for some years to come. Don’t be surprised when the city starts sponsoring Weed and Feed Festivals at DeLaney Farm, where local brew and bud aficionados can partake and then chow the hell down. Why advertise other metro destinations any more? Parker Road will become Toker Trail. And if kush sales are brisk enough, have no doubt that Aurora’s long-awaited light-rail spur will be tabbed the Aurora High Line. Just imagine all the groovy possibilities.