Denver City Council votes to move forward with retail pot shops in straw poll

DENVER - In a straw poll Monday, Denver's City Council voted informally to move forward with creating a system for licensing recreational marijuana stores.

Councilman Charlie Brown asked council members if they want to opt out of the retail sales portion of Amendment 64. Only one council member, Jeanne Faatz, voted to opt out.

Judy Montero abstained from the vote and Chris Herndon was absent. The ten other council members all voted to move forward.

Amendment 64 is the state constitutional amendment passed last November that allows adults over 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. While it allows the licensing of marijuana retail stores, it also permits local governments to regulate or prohibit such facilities.

State lawmakers have passed new laws that dictate how marijuana should be grown, packaged and sold. However, each municipality may enact licensing and location regulations.

While Colorado lawmakers passed several bills related to marijuana retail sales, one issue still to be determined is taxing marijuana.

Voters across the state will be asked in November to approve a 15 percent excise tax, to be used for school construction, and a 10 percent special state sales tax, to pay for regulation and enforcement. That's in addition to the 2.9 percent state sales tax and any local taxes added by the county/city where the marijuana is sold.

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