Colorado issues 348 retail marijuana licenses for stores, cultivation, manufacturing and testing

Stores and facilities also need local approval

DENVER - For the first time, Colorado has issued retail marijuana licenses. The documents were mailed Monday to 348 businesses.

Licenses were sent to 136 stores, 178 cultivation facilities, 31 product manufacturing facilities and 3 testing facilities, the Colorado Department of Revenue's Marijuana Enforcement Division reports. The vast majority of all licensed facilities, a total of 270, are located within the City and County of Denver. The next highest concentration of licensed facilities is in Steamboat Springs, which has nine.

Applications for the licenses were accepted starting on Oct. 1, 2013. The state has 90 days to take action on each application.

"These licensed businesses have gone through the state’s rigorous Retail Marijuana licensing process, which includes the submission of required documentation, fingerprint-based background checks, financial checks and payment of licensing fees," the Marijuana Enforcement Division wrote in a press release.

The businesses must also receive local approval before they can open, which means they may or may not be ready to open on Jan. 1. When they do open, pot products will be sold with a 15 percent excise tax and 10 percent marijuana sales tax in addition to the usual 2.9 percent state sales tax and any local taxes.

The opening of retail marijuana stores will be the final phase of a process that began in November of 2012, when voters approved Amendment 64. Gov. John Hickenlooper created a task force in December of that year to design policies for retail marijuana, and their recommendations were released the following March. The Colorado General Assembly took those recommendations and crafted bills that were signed into law on May 28, 2013.

-- Mobile users: See a map of the stores that were sent licenses